My First Weeks at USDA

My first three weeks interning for USDA have been extremely interesting and enjoyable.  A native of Austin, Texas, I grew up spending most weekends on my grandparents’ farm, the same farm where we currently raise Texas Longhorn cattle. Instead of returning to Austin after the baseball season, I came to Washington, DC to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn about both agriculture and the government while also making a difference.

I knew USDA played a significant role in the lives of farmers and ranchers, but I continue to be amazed by the breadth of programs and agencies here.  Rural Development, for example, does amazing work in rural communities, from building hospitals to improving water supplies to increasing the availability of broadband internet.  I also have a greater appreciation for USDA’s role in disease and pest control and its significant impact on the success of our country’s agricultural output and economy over the years.

In addition to learning about USDA, I have been afforded some great opportunities through my internship.  This week I went to a Tribal Leaders Reception for the National Congress of American Indians.  I met several interesting people, both tribal leaders and people who work in other departments of the government.  The reception was held in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.  It was my first time visiting the museum and reminded me of all the great museums and government buildings in Washington, DC.  I have been to a few of them now, with my favorite two being the Library of Congress and the National Archives.  I’m looking forward to more great experiences in the weeks to come.



you are the man ross! your determination and mindset are second to none. I doubt many ballplayers would take this route in the offseason, so congrats on expanding your horizons. I can’t wait til next season. GO BUCS!

Very interesting. I had a chance to see you pitch in person last season (09) against the Indians. Anyway, do you plan on doing something in Agriculture when your done with baseball? Good luck both on the field and off!

You are the man… can’t wait to see you go for 20 in 2010…U have our vote for President? someday:).


Great write-up …. lots of places that I want to visit there. Especially that American Indian Museum. Looking for another good year out of you in fantasy baseball.

Ross, have fun at your internship and good luck in 2010!! USDA must be fun, especially since you grew up farming. Must be interesting to be apart of the organization.

Hi Ross,

I wanted to commend you for this undertaking with the Department of Agriculture. You have put yourself out there to absorb what the future holds for this country by channelling your interests and passion into it. It shows you care for something near and close to your heart.

After watching two starts of yours on the road this past season (at Chicago (AL) and Milwaukee), I can see where this game is going to take you in the long term – not just by pitching ability, but through service in and outside the game.

Incredible stuff, Ross! Good luck – see you next season!

Hey Ross,
Wanted to congratulate you on a great 09 season. Excited for next year! Hope you are enjoying your internship. Keep up the blogging! =)

Ross! Finally! A Pirate on the mlblogs! You’re one of my favorites man, I hope you check out my blog and maybe drop me a comment or something. Keep up the good work, I’ll be a daily reader.

Ross thanks for all the hard work this season in becoming the Pirates’ ace. It had to have been hard to stay positive after being traded from the Yankees to the Pirates, but you were a great example and became a great leader. Keep it up.

Welcome to USDA, Ross, from your colleagues at the National Agricultural Library. We’ve give you a little play in our blog.

>> Most interns at USDA don’t get a lot of attention outside their assigned areas, but this guy’s different. . . . [Read more at InfoFarm: The NAL Blog: On the USDA Farm Team.]

Ross, I am ready to buy my Olendorf jersey. You were already on your way, but with this internship you have become my favorite Pirate.

Good luck next season, I live a long way from Pittsburgh but maybe I will get to see you pitch live this year, even if it is on the road–I have made it a goal!

Hey Ross,
While you’re in DC you should stop in to Nanny O’Briens pub in Cleveland Park on a Monday nite for some traditional Irish tunes in the back room. Ohlendorf is an Irish name isn’t it? I bleed Pirates black and gold – come in for a few pints man.

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