Fifteen Farm Bureau members from Minnesota met with their members of Congress during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF) Farmers to Washington, D.C. trip March 25-27.

Among the attendees was Redwood County Farm Bureau board member Lisa Roker from Wabasso. Roker is a finalist in the 2019 MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers discussion meet competition.

Participants met with senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith; members of Congress Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Tom Emmer, Collin Peterson and Pete Stauber and staff members from the office of Ilhan Omar.

“Taking time to communicate with our elected and appointed officials is extremely important. Sharing personal stories about how policies directly impact us or people in our communities is critical,” said Roker.

During the meetings, attendees discussed Farm Bureau priority issues including the importance of ratifying the U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement in addition to defending and expanding other trade opportunities, the importance of value-added agriculture including the renewable fuels standard and animal agriculture, the high cost of individual health insurance and a solution for the very serious farm labor shortage.

In addition, attendees met with staff from the Senate and House agriculture committees as well as officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) including: Deputy Secretary Steve Censky, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Bill Northey, Deputy Chief Economist Dr. Warren Preston, FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce, Chief of Staff for Farm Production and Conservation Jamie Clover Adams and Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations Ken Barbic.

“Having Farm Bureau leaders engage in all 10 of our Congressional offices, with House and Senate agricultural committee staff as well as with key USDA officials, is a critical component to our Farm Bureau policy implementation,” said Kevin Paap, MFBF president. “It allows them to share their stories, build relationships and instills the importance of discussing issues that are important to us. If we are not sharing our story, then someone else will be."

Trip attendees included state board members and Young Farmers and Ranchers committee members and contest finalists from the Excellence in Agriculture contest and discussion meet.

Minnesota Farm Bureau is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureaus across Minnesota. 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 for children.

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