National Ag Week is coming to a close, but what a great week it was!! With educational events held across the United States to promote agriculture; Facebook and Twitter swarming with ag fun facts; and pictures of farmers and ranchers at the Capital talking with legislators about the importance of agriculture. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the ag community coming together. But ag day, or ag week isn’t enough—we need to keep up that enthusiasm and continue to educate the public about everything agriculture. We did a great job during ag week but we need to get people excited about agriculture every day.
Before I came to DC last year for an internship, I didn’t think about how legislation really affected farmers and ranchers. I was raised on a small cattle farm and I wasn’t really into discussing politics. But I quickly learned how important it is to have representation on Capitol Hill. Pretty much every commodity you can think of whether it is beef, pork, sugar or rice is represented in D.C. and is involved in key discussions to help their producers. Some of the issues discussed in meetings with Hill staffers really surprised me. For example, death tax was one crucial issue, and though we don’t like to think about that word, “death,” we have to, especially as farmers. Who will that farm go to when the farmer passes away? Hopefully the farm will stay in the family and continue to be passed down from generation to generation. But not if it isn’t financially sustainable to hand that farm down to ones children or grandchildren! Another example is transportation, specifically trucking. Why would animal agriculture be involved in discussions surrounding trucking? Well, we need to get our product to the market. It is so important to have representation in D.C., especially since most of the men and women making these decisions for you as producers have been removed from the farm for 3-4 generations. Legislators need to hear your stories so that they can have insight into the farm and farm life.
I challenge you to get involved on both the state and national levels. Get to know the issues that will affect your way of life and speak up so that your congressmen and senators know what you need to succeed. All it takes is a letter, email, or phone call to your representatives’ office to express your concern. You can even connect with them on Twitter and Facebook! You are one of their constituents; you have pull because you vote them in or out of office. There is agriculture in every state and it brings money and jobs which both have huge ranking in political decision-making. So tell your elected officials that you are a farmer or rancher in their district and that you help feed the rest of their constituency, and that you need them to stand up for agriculture.
Make sure you’re staying up to date my fellow farm folks! Know what is going on around you so you can help agriculture succeed. Follow the Alliance on social media and check out our interactive Legislative Map (updated every Thursday) to see if there’s any pending legislation in your state that will affect animal agriculture. Your elected officials are important because they are making the rules but you are important too, because you’re putting food in their bellies!
Here’s to #agday 24/7/365!!