Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have recently left town for the annual August congressional recess, and the Senate will soon follow suit. Chad Smith has more on why now is the perfect time for Farm Bureau members to advocate for agriculture.
Smith: The August congressional recess is a yearly break in the Washington schedules for elected officials to return to their districts. Tom Donnelly, Director of Grassroots Program Development with the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the month-long break first began as a chance to get out of humid weather.
Donnelly: The August recess was established in the early 70s and designed to give lawmakers a break in the congressional schedule, particularly because of the humidity in DC. But today, it's actually a regular feature of the legislative calendar, and it provides time for lawmakers to meet and hear from constituents about issues that are important to them.
Smith: Farm Bureau has a long-standing commitment to advocacy, and Donnelly says August is the ideal time for farmers and ranchers to engage with senators and representatives about U.S. agriculture.
Donnelly: We hope that farmers and ranchers will take advantage of this time to schedule meetings with lawmakers, share their stories about issues and challenges they face, but also build that relationship and become a trusted source for the lawmaker on agriculture. I think it's important for our listeners to remember that the real impact of advocacy comes from personal stories that illustrate how key issues are affecting farmers and ranchers. And farmers and ranchers are constituents, and constituents vote, so take advantage of this opportunity. Be up close and personal and share your story and build that relationship. Become the face of agriculture for your lawmakers.
Smith: For folks who aren’t sure about the right way to advocate for agriculture, Farm Bureau has resources to help take that first step.
Donnelly: They can go to FBadvocacy.org. On that page, you'll find a link called “be a successful advocate.” That's our “How-To” page. They can scroll down and find links to visit your legislators in in-district meetings and events.
Smith: Members of the House of Representatives will be in their home districts until September 13. The Senate is scheduled to depart D.C. on August 6 and return September 6. Chad Smith, Washington.