Have you ever seen a movie or TV show that depicts a quick work trip to a big city? The main character packs an overnight bag, rolls into town late at night, wakes up and gets some important work done. Then the trip wraps up with a late flight home.
Well, for several Ohio Farm Bureau members, that scenario summarizes our trip to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Issues Advisory Committee meetings in Washington, D.C. in March. Except in this situation, the main characters are Farm Bureau members from across the country. Their all-important job? Serve as real-life policy gurus for the policy experts on our national Farm Bureau staff.
Ohio was very well represented in Washington. Led by OFBF policy team member Jack Irvin, Ohio’s delegation included myself, Joe Steiner, Fred Finney, Jerry Lahmers and Paul Dorrance (shout-out, AgriPower Class VIII). Together with hundreds of other Farm Bureau members, our agricultural policy expertise was on full display during both days of meetings.
Though the Issue Advisory Committee meetings are primarily designed for policy staff to consult with Farm Bureau members, the meetings are also an incredible opportunity for members to learn about policy concerns in other states. For example, our Environmental Regulations Committee spent plenty of time talking about agriculture and the Endangered Species Act. While this law may not impact Ohio farmers right now, it could be an issue in the future. Knowing the potential solutions for these issues could be important for Ohio farmers someday.
Whether it is environmental regulations, commodity programs, animal care, food safety, direct marketing or any other area, Farm Bureau members are the true policy experts in our industry. They experience the impact of federal and state policy everyday on their operations. Members know the exact issues confronting agriculture, they know the strengths and weaknesses of farm policy and they know how to craft solutions to solve these problems.
So even though the OFBF and AFBF policy teams diligently work alongside state and federal decision makers each day, it is Farm Bureau members who are the driving force in farm policy. With so many knowledgeable agricultural minds actively assisting Farm Bureau, the future of farm policy looks very promising for years to come.
Caption: Issues Advisory Committee meeting at AFBF in Washington, DC in March.