One of the most rewarding opportunities at Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, both for students and our staff, is the summer internship program. Past interns have gone on to work in fields such as advocacy, association management, research, state government, and yes even working in our department today. Both Stefanie Taillon and Martha Moore were interns in the Governmental Relations Department. Typically, we have openings for interns in odd years coinciding with state elections in Virginia. This year we have two interns working with staff. Both have been doing a wonderful job and I wanted each to share a little about themselves as they near the end of their time with us.
I was born and raised in Upstate New York in a small town called New Hartford, New York. I grew up on my family farm and that is an experience that I cherish. My great-grandfather started the farm after immigrating from Wales in the 1920s and the farm has been in the family ever since. Although it started as a dairy farm, the operation of the farm has changed with pretty much every generation. My grandfather raised veal and hogs for years with the help of my dad and his brothers. My uncle now runs the farm and raises sheep, highland cattle, and, most recently, four piglets. My parents both have careers outside of farming now, but my mom actually worked as a field advisor with the New York State Farm Bureau when she was in her 20s. Needless to say, she is absolutely thrilled that I am working with the Virginia Farm Bureau this summer.
I just graduated from the University of Virginia this past May, where I majored in government and minored in public policy and leadership. During my time at UVA, I fell completely in love with Virginia and all that it has to offer, so much so that I decided to stick around. This fall I will be starting my first year at the University of Richmond School of Law. Although I am not entirely sure of the type of law I would like to practice in the future, I am interested in environmental law.
This summer I am helping the Governmental Relations team with the AgPAC. As a New Yorker, this internship has been a great immersion into Virginia State Politics. I love that this internship provides me with an opportunity to work with the Governmental Relations team, Field Service Directors, candidates running for office, and some of our farmers.
I grew up in Fluvanna County and my interest in agriculture began when I joined FFA at Fluvanna County High School. Although I did not grow up in production agriculture, my passion and connection to the agricultural industry deepened as continued through FFA and began riding horses competitively. From 2018-2019, I served a Virginia FFA State Officer alongside 7 other individuals and had the opportunity to see the incredible impact that agriculture and agricultural education has on people throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.
My love of agriculture is continuing at Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes!) where I am a current junior and studying Agricultural Leadership with a concentration in International Affairs and Policy. Through National FFA, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa and see agriculture on a global scale which sparked my interest. I plan to pursue a master’s degree in international agriculture or immediately being working in the industry.
This summer at Farm Bureau I have had the opportunity to work with Governmental Relations, Young Farmers, and Membership and Field Services. Through my projects I have been able to advocate for Virginia agriculture, and work with members to ensure that Farm Bureau is able to offer unique programs and facilitate an environment where agriculture can progress and thrive.
We know these two will do remarkable things and we are happy they wanted to spend this summer working at Virginia Farm Bureau to learn more what we do!