BY TAMMIE SLOUP
Nine Illinois Farm Bureau members traveled to the nation's capitol this week to advocate for ag issues.
The three-day visit, part of IFB’s Leaders to Washington trip, will include meetings with members of Illinois’ congressional delegation as well as industry representatives.
The group will head to Capitol Hill to talk with legislators and staff in a mix of in-person and virtual meetings focusing on topics including skyrocketing input prices, supply chain snags, trade, "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rulemaking and the 2023 farm bill.
Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development, said the trip, typically held a couple times a year, is an opportunity for members to get in front of policy-makers and provide firsthand accounts on what happens on their farms and how policy affects them.
"Organizationally, there’s no question that Farm Bureau has influence," Nielsen said. "When Farm Bureau members raise issues and tell their stories in a way that is memorable they maximize their influence with their elected officials."
While face coverings have mostly been lifted in government buildings, virtual is becoming more the norm, limiting some of the face-to-face meetings.
"And that's not something that's going to change," Nielsen said. "We've adapted very well with the hand dealt to us."
On Monday, participants received updates on national ag policy from American Farm Bureau Federation staff. While Farm Bureau staff helps raise the voices of members, it's those members' voices that are most effective in helping shape policy, AFBF Vice President of Public Affairs Samuel Kieffer told delegates.
The IFB delegates will head to Capitol Hill Tuesday.
"And don't let advocacy stop when you leave," Kieffer encouraged the group. "Meet with (legislators) at home. Get their boots on your dirt. And know you're making an impact."
Participants include: Dean Campbell, Randolph County; Tom Connors, Macoupin; Larry Dallas, Illinois Farm Bureau District 12 director, Douglas; Philip Fuhr, Rock Island; Adam Henkel, Lee; Katie King, Sangamon; Aaron Maher, Peoria; David Schuler, McLean; Korbin Wagenbach, Peoria.
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.