WASHINGTON, D.C. – University of Idaho junior Travis Chase of New Plymouth, Idaho, enjoyed a rare perspective at the national Agricultural Outlook Forum.
Chase was one of 20 undergraduate students chosen nationwide to attend the U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored event.
He won the recent trip with an essay about agriculture as a career
. A past Idaho FFA state officer, Chase wrote about his confidence in agriculture's future and the importance technology will play in it.
The February forum sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is held annually in Alexandria, VA, just across from the nation's capital. The event functions as the nation's meeting of the minds on agricultural trends and policy.
"It was a really great experience and a chance to learn a lot about agriculture at that level," Chase said.
"Agriculture is an industry that is both personally fulfilling and essential for the sustenance of our future. It has been said that if you find a job that you enjoy, you will never have to work a day in your life," Chase wrote. "My job is in agriculture."
A dual major studying agricultural economics and soil science, Chase said he enjoyed pre-forum tours of the Economic Research Service and Agricultural Research Service.
During the two-day forum, Chase heard presentations by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other key industry researchers and leaders.
Growing up on a small family farm, Chase said, made him want to pursue a career in agriculture, either on the farm or in the agricultural industry.
Last summer he began working as an intern for the J.R. Simplot Co. sampling potato fields. He continued working for Simplot during the university's winter break and will resume as a summer intern again in May.
Megan Waldrop, a Pullman-based Washington State University food science graduate student, also won a trip to the forum. The School of Food Science combines faculty from the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
She was one of 10 graduate students who won a trip to the forum with her essay about the challenges facing agriculture during the next five years.