Agriculture is the largest economic driver and employer in Kansas. Like virtually all other segments of the economy, agriculture is affected by public policy decisions at the local, state and federal levels. Who makes those decisions, where and from whom they receive information, and the process under which these decisions are made are critically important to the future of the industry. Further, the challenges facing the entire agricultural industry are growing more complex and interconnected than ever. Flinchbaugh Fellows will gain a first-hand understanding of policy and regulatory challenges facing food and agriculture production, will be challenged to develop strategic solutions to these challenges, and will participate in the policy process during their experience in the program.
Fellows will complete two separate experiences – one at the state level and one at the federal level – with either a legislative or congressional office, a state or federal agency, or a food or agricultural membership organization or business. Upon completion of the program, Ag Fellows will be equipped with necessary skills and knowledge to be productive leaders in the agricultural industry.
Working with a state legislator, state agency, or state membership organization is a crucial component of the program. At the federal level, Flinchbaugh Fellows will get a behind-the-scenes experience in the inner-workings of the federal policy process. From day-to-day, fellows may fill different roles within the office and will be exposed to a wide variety of experiences that may include the following:
Attend hearings and briefings;
Track and assist with current legislation and regulatory issues;
Research relevant public policy issues;
Draft policy briefs for office staff;
Attend meetings related to legislative or regulatory issues;
Provide weekly updates on regulatory or legislative issues to supervisors;
Draft and send issue letters to constituents;
Assist in drafting and editing legislative testimony, official correspondence, press releases and other pieces of public information;
Complete special projects as assigned.
To be eligible to apply for the Flinchbaugh Fellowship, candidates must meet the following criteria:
Be a U.S. citizen; permanent residents are not eligible;
Be currently enrolled (undergraduate, masters or Ph.D.) student pursuing an agricultural degree at Kansas State University;
Have completed at least two years of college
Be in good standing (academic and conduct) at Kansas State University;
Be able to complete a minimum of two fellowship experiences, one at the state level and one at the federal level;
Be able to serve the entire length of the Kansas Legislative Session, which convenes the second Monday in January and typically concludes in early May for the state-level experience (approximately 15 hours per week);
Be able to serve 8 to 12 weeks during the Washington, D.C., experience;
Be able to attend all preparatory events in Manhattan prior to Washington, D.C., experience; and
Have valid health insurance during the internship semesters.
Graduating seniors are allowed to participate during the semester immediately after they graduate. For example, if a student graduates in December, he or she could complete the Washington, D.C., portion of the program during the following spring semester. Graduating seniors should contact the program staff for more information.
The Flinchbaugh Fellowship offers benefits ranging from networking and resume building to paid fellowship experiences and the opportunity to build a strong working knowledge of the public policy process.
Program partners that host fellows will be expected to provide a competitive stipend for fellows as well as challenging and tangible work expectations for fellows.
During the state experience, Ag Fellows will be provided a stipend to cover personal vehicle mileage, paid by employer. Fellows are considered a full-time student and may be eligible for federal financial aid. Fellows will also have the opportunity to work and network with top leaders in Kansas agriculture who will serve as mentors as the fellows finish their education and start careers in agriculture.
Application & Selection Process
Students applying for the Ag Fellows program must complete the following application and selection process:
Submit a completed application packet, including an application, a professional resume and cover letter, an issue essay, an official college transcript, and two letters of recommendation.
Complete first round interview with Kansas Food & Ag Fellowship steering committee and attend a reception with program supporters.
Students selected to advance to the final step in the selection process may have an opportunity to attend an agricultural issues briefing to become familiar with pending agricultural issues.
Finalist will have the opportunity to connect with host office representatives. Host offices will make their selections based off of application packet, recommendations from the steering committee and additional interactions.
The Ag Policy Fellows Program will have a steering committee to conduct interviews and make recommendations to host offices. The steering committee is:
Will Moreland - Flinchbaugh Center Fellows Council Co-Chair
Reed Middleton - Flinchbaugh Center Fellows Council Co-Chair