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Cultivating the Future: Jackson Daftari

Cultivating the Future

From the county to the boardroom to the capitol

At 8 a.m., the glass door slides open as Jackson Daftari, an agricultural economics major, swipes his key card to enter the door to the Indianapolis Farm Bureau office. Other employees, preparing for the day’s meetings with industry leaders, move about the office. Daftari sits down at his cubicle, responds to a few emails, and then works on a slideshow about research into a current policy issue. Although, on the surface, Daftari’s work as a policy intern seems like a typical office job, the work he researches and presents will impact farmers across Indiana and the country. 

Daftari’s path to his internship with the Indiana Farm Bureau had an interesting detour. Having previously interned with Beck’s Hybrids, the office of Senator Todd Young, and the Indiana state police, Daftari decided this year to apply for an internship with Indiana Farm Bureau. Although he didn’t get the first internship he applied for, someone from Farm Bureau’s public policy team reached out on LinkedIn and asked Daftari to apply to be a policy intern, the position he now holds. 

wide shot of the Indiana Farm Bureau office building, a moderately tall building with lots of reflective glass Indianapolis branch of the Indiana Farm Bureau, where Jackson Daftari interns

Jackson works with others, such as the president, vice president, and the chief operating officer of the Indiana Farm Bureau, to help write policy. The Indiana Farm Bureau’s polices ultimately shape Indiana farming legislation and policy, but other states' policies may also be influenced.  

Legislation “all starts at the county level,” according to Daftari. Farm Bureau members in each county bring their policy ideas to the Bureau, which helps find the research and language to make the ideas into reality. Once the policy is fully fleshed out, it goes into a policy book, and the Bureau can start lobbying for legislation at the state house. 

The goal of making new legislation is to “help farmers succeed,” according to Daftari. Daftari explained,

Our mission is to protect and enhance the future of agriculture in our communities, and that’s what we do on a daily basis—meeting with farmers, seeing what they need and using our influence to craft legislation that will help advance and protect their interests.”

Helping farmers begins with researching and understanding the problem, which is the majority of Daftari’s work. For example, Daftari has been doing extensive research into carbon sequestration in addition to mRNA vaccinations for livestock, which Indiana currently has no policies about. 

“Coming into this internship, I didn’t know anything about mRNA vaccinations,” Daftari said. “I’ve done hours of research in medical and scientific journals, and I’ve met with microbiologists.”  

Through his research, Daftari concluded that mRNA vaccinations are “a really interesting piece of technology that will help livestock farmers,” information that will influence whether Indiana Farm Bureau lobbies for the legislation. 

Daftari expressed gratitude for the mentorship he has received at his summer internship. He thanks “the entire Indiana Farm Bureau family for being amazing, but more specifically, Jeff Cummins, Jesse Cordray and Adam Novotney. They are a part of the public policy team here at the Farm Bureau and have helped me excel in my role.” 

Daftari plans to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in August. He will then apply to law school, where he plans to continue his education after graduating in Spring 2024. 

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