PSS PhD Candidate Tackles New Challenges as a USDA FAS International Agricultural Intern

PSS PhD Candidate Tackles New Challenges as a USDA FAS International Agricultural Intern

PSS PhD Candidate Tackles New Challenges as a USDA FAS International Agricultural Intern

Published on Nov. 26, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY (November 26th, 2013) - Earlier this fall, Graduate student John Orlowski chose to interrupt his academic studies here in Lexington for an amazing work abroad learning experience.  Once John discovered the possibility for overseas work he  decided to make a leap of faith and take the job with the USDA in China working with the U.S Embassy.  This is not John’s first international trip this year, as he and several other University of Kentucky students in Professor Chad Lee’s Plant and Soil Sciences grain crops program also made a eight day trip to Argentina in February to study no-till crop production there.  Perhaps this previous international field work gave John the confidence to take the multi-month appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing China?

Since October Orlowski has been employed by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, or FAS, as an International Agricultural Intern.  Since starting his new post John has attended an aquaculture harvest event with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (U.S. produced soybean is the basis of the fish food), and the US/China Poultry and Swine summits.  The FAS has five Agricultural Trade Offices across China with the goal of helping promote/introduce US produce imports like dairy, deciduous fruits, and tree nuts.  October marked a milestone for these ongoing trade efforts with the arrival of the first bulk shipments of sorghum.  John has been and is currently tasked with writing several commodity reports discussing opening market access and developing potential trade opportunities for US producers.  The last several days he has also been assisting preparations for the upcoming visit of Vice President Biden and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack.Besides keeping busy working in China’s national capital John has squeezed in some sightseeing visiting the great wall and several other regional cities such as Shanghai and even Seoul, South Korea.

 John has proven himself a leader and great asset to his graduate program here in Lexington; serving to help and mentor many in his role as a teaching assistant and his activities in organizing the graduate student club in the department. When his international agriculture internship is complete his fellow students, colleagues, and instructors all anticipate his return to U of K and the Crop Science Ph.D. program so that they too can learn and benefit from his adventures in agriculture on the other side of the world!

Link to the first post in John's China travel blog -

Contact Information

Rebecca McCulley, Ph.D.
Department Chair

105 Plant Sciences Building Lexington, KY 40546-0312

(859) 257-5020