(Posted Fri. Aug 16th, 2013)
An Open Letter to NCGA Members
My fellow farmers,
August may be a busy month on your farm, as I know it is on mine, but I call upon you to move one very important task to the top of your to-do list. Meet with your Members of Congress for a conversation about the issues important to corn growers.
With Members of Congress in their home states over the August recess, it is imperative that each and every one of NCGA’s more than 40,000 members takes advantage of this opportunity and personally shares their story with their representative from the House and their Senators before they head back to Washington on September 8.
I would never call upon others to do what I would not do myself. Personally, I met with my Congressman already. Along with Mark Reichert, past president of the Sangamon County Farm Bureau, I sat down with Representative Aaron Schock to tell my story about how federal government policy directly impacts my farm. Together, we discussed how important farming is not just to the men and women who work the land but also to the equipment dealers, seed salespeople, crop insurance agents and many others in our communities who depend upon the economic activity agriculture generates.
Recent surveys confirm that in-person visits from constituents remain far and away the most influential way of getting a message through to our members of the House and Senate. You can multiply this impact even further by bringing along someone else from your community, be it a banker, equipment dealer, insurance agent, or anyone else dependent upon the money farming generates to earn their livelihood, to share their story too. Whether you can schedule a personal meeting or attend a town hall, I urge a full court press on agricultural issues over the coming weeks.
As soon as Congress comes back into session, key legislation including a new farm bill and the Water Resources Development Act will come up for debate. At the same time, we anticipate continued efforts to chip away at the Renewable Fuel Standard and important access to biotechnology. It is imperative that our elected officials act to pass this legislation immediately as very few days remain on the legislative calendar before the clock runs out; Congress adjourns and the current farm bill extension expires.
If you are as concerned as I am about our farming future, do not let the opportunity pass to meet with your federal legislators this August recess. The future of American farming rests in your hands. The time to make a stand is upon us now. If we are to build the future that we all want, we must play an active role in advocating for that change.
Tips for scheduling a meeting with your elected official to set up a meeting:
- Begin by speaking with your Congressional office’s Scheduler in DC. This contact information can be found online at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov or through the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
- Be prepared to offer the scheduler your availability. The greater your flexibility, the greater the odds are that you will be able to meet with the member. If the member is unavailable to meet with you, schedule a meeting with their legislative aide responsible for agricultural issues. These staffers advise the member on issues important to all of us and wield significant influence over how the member will eventually vote on our issues. If you are requesting a meeting in the district or state, ask to meet with the Representative’s District Director or the Senator’s State Director.
- If you encounter difficulty scheduling time with your representative, you may also ask the scheduler if the member will be holding any public events or town hall meetings that you might attend.
- If you unable to schedule a personal meeting, click here to find a town hall near you.
Attached are a few documents to leave behind that can supplement your personal story, including: