ST. PAUL — Twelve Farm Bureau members from across Minnesota met with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C. during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) Farmers to Washington, D.C. trip September 10-13.
Members engaged with all 10 Minnesota offices while in D.C.: Senator Tina Smith; members of Congress Collin Peterson, Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber; and staff members from the offices of Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congresswomen Betty McCollum and Ilhan Omar. In addition, members met with administration at the White House, in the U.S. Capitol with staff members from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
During the meetings, attendees discussed Farm Bureaus policy priorities including ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), defending and expanding trade opportunities, upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and financial and emotional challenges in Rural America.
Farm Bureau members participated in the Farmers for Free Trade Rally emphasizing the importance of getting USMCA done now. While there, members visited American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and former USDA Secretaries of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Chuck Conner. Farm Bureau members engaged with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Cuban Embassy 1st Secretary Miguel Fraga.
“There is a significant impact when showing up in person and having that personal conversation about your farm with members of Congress,” said Tony Seykora – MFBF Promotion & Education Committee chair. “Your personal story is valuable information they can’t get anywhere else.”
“Switching the work jeans out for dress clothes and speaking with all 10 Congressional offices throughout three intense days has been a rewarding experience. It’s nice to know that we are respected and represented as Farm Bureau members,” said Rachel Connell – MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee member. “From visiting with elected officials to meeting with administration at the White House and at the Capitol, our message is being heard. It’s a busy time of year, but after being out here I can see the impact that coming and telling my story about how my family is affected by these issues makes a difference and gives me a feeling of accomplishment.”
Trip attendees included county Farm Bureau leaders, state board of director members, state Promotion & Education (P&E), Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee members and YF&R contest finalists.
YF&R contest finalists earn this trip by competing in the 2018 MFBF YF&R Achievement Award and Excellence in Agriculture contests held during the MFBF Annual Meeting in November 2018 or the 2019 Discussion Meet held at the MFBF LEAP Conference in January. In addition to the Washington, D.C. trip, state contest winners receive a $500 cash prize, a trip to the AFBF YF&R national leadership conference and a trip to compete in the AFBF contests. For more information about the MFBF YF&R program, contact your county offices or visit fbmn.org.
Minnesota Farm Bureau representing Farmers • Families • Food is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureaus across Minnesota. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public. Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education for children. Join Farm Bureau today and support our efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota, www.fbmn.org.
— Minnesota Farm Bureau
For more news from Minnesota, click here.