Nelsons From Hinckley Make Trip To Washington, Talk Farming With Legislators
Young farmers and ranchers from across Minnesota met with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C. during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) to Washington, D.C. trip September 14-16. Nathan and Suzanna Nelson of Hinckley in Pine County were among the participants who spoke with their members of Congress and Senators regarding Farm Bureau’s positions on legislative issues.
The trip began with a briefing from the American Farm Bureau Federation on current issues. Participants met with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken; members of Congress Collin Peterson, Tim Walz, Erik Paulsen and Chip Cravaack; and staff members from the offices of John Kline, Michele Bachmann, Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison.
“From our experience, we believe our members of Congress really do want to hear from ourselves, and value our input,” said the Nelsons. “This experience has helped us realize that if there is a bill or an issue one of them is working on and we can put a face and a name to agriculture and come to a solution that will hopefully work for the greater good, they can take my story to their colleagues.”
During their meetings, Farm Bureau members discussed a variety of issues affecting agriculture. Top areas of focus included the budget, 2012 farm bill, Free Trade Agreements, estate tax, regulations and animal care.
“Having the opportunity to meet with all 10 Congressional offices is a testament to the fact that Farm Bureau remains the most highly regarded source for bringing the concerns of American agriculture and rural America to Washington, D.C.,” said Miles Kuschel, MFBF YF&R Chair.
Attendees also toured the U.S. Capitol, National Archives “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet” and met with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and officials from the Australian Embassy.
“This experience outfits our young farmers with the tools they need to become strong advocates for agriculture and rural Minnesota,” said Kuschel. “It also brings politics to life for our Farm Bureau members, and instills the importance of discussing the issues that are important to us. If we are not providing our perspective, then someone else will be.”
Trip attendees included a representative of the top county YF&R program in Minnesota, state YF&R committee members and contest participants. Contest finalists earned this trip by competing in the 2010 MFBF YF&R Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture or Discussion Meet contests. These contests were held during the MFBF Annual Meeting in November 2010. In addition to the Washington, D.C. trip, state contest winners receive a $500 cash prize, a trip to the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers national leadership conference and a trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau contests. For more information about the MFBF YF&R program, contact your county Farm Bureau offices or visit www.fbmn.org.
Minnesota Farm Bureau is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureau associations across Minnesota representing farmers, families, food. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public. Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education. Join Farm Bureau today and support our efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota, www.fbmn.org.