Clements: Federal lawmakers have returned to their districts for Easter recess until April twenty-fourth. American Farm Bureau Federation advocacy and political affairs director Cody Lyon says this is a great time to discuss what issues farmers and ranchers need addressed most.
Lyon: While it's traditionally referred to as recess, for members of Congress it’s anything but. For most, it is what they call an in-district work period. So, it gives the opportunity to go back to their districts or state, speak with constituents, have meetings with constituents, have the opportunity to hear from people who are being directly impacted by those issues that Congress will address and has been addressing so far, this year.
Clements: While there are many ways to engage with legislators on important issues, Lyon describes three ways farmers and ranchers can effectively advocate for agriculture.
Lyon: The first is organize a private group meeting between Farm Bureau members and legislators and staff, the second one is host a farm or ranch tour and the third is to coordinate a public listening session on agriculture with those lawmakers. All three of these give a nice opportunity for one-on-one interaction or small group interaction to be able to ask questions, get answers to those questions, but more importantly start building relationships.
Clements: He says farmers and ranchers should be telling legislators about pressing agricultural issues.
Lyon: Immediately on the horizon is the confirmation of Governor Perdue to be the USDA Secretary. We expect that to happen on the twenty-fourth. Then after that, we have a lot of key issues in tax reform, regulatory reform immediately facing our farmers and ranchers, and long-term is going to be the farm bill.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF