Annual Meeting prime time to connect with lawmakers, adopted legislators

By Kay Shipman

After a flurry of fall on-farm visits, county Farm Bureau leaders may want to take advantage of the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting to connect with their legislators, especially adopted legislators, according to Christina Nourie, IFB northeast legislative coordinator.

Many new urban legislators joined the Adopt-A-Legislator program and were matched with county Farm Bureaus in 2020 and 2021, making this year their first opportunity to join an Annual Meeting activity.

Nourie suggested county Farm Bureau leaders might consider inviting their legislators to participate in the ice cream social to raise money for Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom. Sponsored by Prairie Farms Dairy, the ice cream social will kick off fundraising events Dec. 5, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Traditionally, several county Farm Bureaus share a meal in the Chicago area with their adopted legislator. “Consider visiting a restaurant in the legislator’s district,” Nourie added.

Some county Farm Bureaus build on the holiday season to bring donation items for a cause in their legislator’s district. Nourie offered a couple of examples, such as ag-related children’s books for a school or library in the lawmaker’s district or farm-related toys or pedal tractor to a children’s nursery or club.

Consider donating items to a food pantry in the legislator’s district and even making time to visit the food pantry with the adopted legislator, Nourie suggested.

Nourie encouraged county Farm Bureau leaders and/or staff to let her know about their plans to connect with lawmakers or to reach out if they want ideas.

Looking ahead to 2022, county Farm Bureau leaders might consider ways to support their adopted legislator with an activity or event that is held in his or her legislative district. A creative idea this fall involved mini pumpkins and small pumpkins purchased at a discount and distributed by adopted legislators at fall events for constituents, according to Nourie.

Some legislators hold community fairs or events for kids in their districts. A donation of educational Ag Mags, ag-related coloring books or other farm-related educational materials might help bridge the urban-rural divide with the lawmaker’s constituents, Nourie added.

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