CSU meat sciences grad student takes on Capitol Hill

Diego Felix

This fall, Maggie Weinroth is beefing up her resume.

The Colorado State University student, pursuing a degree in meat sciences, is interning for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in the District of Columbia.

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Maggie Weinroth poses in D.C. The meat sciences student is interning with the National __ . (Photo courtesy of Maggie Weinroth.)
Maggie Weinroth, a meat sciences graduate student, poses in the District of Columbia during her internship with the National Cattleman’s Beef Association. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Weinroth.)

Weinroth, a 2014 graduate of CSU’s Animal Sciences Department, is spending 15 weeks this fall as an intern with the NCBA policy office, gaining hands-on experience advocating for agriculture on Capitol Hill.

“We go to congressional offices to keep policymakers informed on how beef producers feel on different issues,” Weinroth said. “Not all beef-cattlemen are willing to come out to the District, so it’s important to have trade organizations like the NCBA to advocate for them.”

The NCBA has 32,000 to 34,000 direct members between 47 state affiliates, advocating for all sectors of the beef cattle industry. A USDA report released earlier this year revealed there are 89.9 million heads of cattle in the country as of Jan. 1, up 1 percent from the same time in 2014.

Keith Belk, Weinroth’s adviser and professor of meat safety and quality at CSU, said less than 2 percent of the population in the United States now feeds over 300 million people.

“As a population, since we’ve become so far removed from agricultural production, it’s hugely important that someone like Maggie represent agriculture in Washington, (D.C.),” Belk said.

Weinroth was approached by Head of the Animal Science Department Kevin Pond about the opportunity after a former advisee from Pond’s time at Texas Tech — who happens to be Maggie’s current supervisor in D.C. — came to Pond about an internship opportunity with the NCBA. After initial hesitation and then convincing from Pond and Belk, Weinroth applied.

“The faculty members in the Animal Science Department have been so encouraging for the last six years,” Weinroth said. “They’ve pushed me when I need pushing and helped me when I need helping.”

Weinroth started working in the CSU meat lab her first week on campus in fall 2010 and later joined the meat judging team. As a junior, Weinroth interned with then-Colorado State Representative, now-State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, who serves as chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee in Colorado. Weinroth returned her senior year to work part-time as a legislative aid.

“I’ve always had interest in politics, but being able to see how agriculture and policy collided there was a catalyst to forming those two ideas together,” Weinroth said. “He really found a way to explain to his fellow statesman how things really affect farmers.”

When she’s not working 40-hour weeks at the NCBA policy office, Weinroth said she enjoys exploring the city and visiting historical monuments — occasionally walking past the White House to buy groceries. She said she gets homesick when she sees Facebook posts from the grad students back home in the CSU meat sciences program, but maintains that this experience has been well worth it.

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“I love Colorado, but this has been a really fun experience,” Weinroth said. “This is one of the first cities I’ve visited that I can see myself potentially moving to after graduation.”

Collegian Reporter Diego Felix can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @FMTLturntablist.