The Davis College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources is the only college at Texas Tech University that has its own government internship program. One of the longtime supporters of this program is Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. They work together to make sure students participating in the internship program have all of the resources needed to succeed.
PCG was formed in 1956 to be a unified voice for the cotton producers of the Texas High Plains at the state and federal level, according to Bessent. PCG has since expanded into market development and support at the university level, like support for the Davis College Government Internship Program.
The Plains Cotton Growers Inc. Government Internship Endowed Scholarship was established in 2000, according to the Davis College website. This fund was created to help support state and federal internships by providing for housing, living expenses and travel to the city where the interns are located. Kody Bessent, a third-generation farmer from Acuff, Texas, the chief executive officer of PCG, comments on why the endowed scholarship was created.
“We felt like it was an opportunity where we could participate and send a collective group of folks to Washington DC and let them get exposure to that atmosphere in that arena,” Bessent said. “If you will, with the hopes that honestly, they would stay.”
Bessent participated in a congressional internship program during his junior year at West Texas A&M University.
“This is where I sort of kind of got a knack for how policy works,” Bessent said.
Student interns serve as a unique opportunity for organizations like PCG, creating connections with agencies and congressional offices.
“The other thing that I would say helps us in D.C. would be the people who come from this area,” Bessent said. “Typically, most people that come out of Texas Tech or surrounding universities are people that grew up here knowing the value of getting up early, staying up late, and working hard and there is something to be said for that.”
This is one of the many reasons PCG continues the endowed scholarship. They see potential in Texas Tech students to be able to make a difference in policy. After a student has completed their internship, they believe many will have the tenacity to continue working on Capitol Hill.
“This makes us more of an aggressive advocate, and sometimes you need that whenever you’re in Washington D.C., or even in Austin,” Bessent said.