The August congressional recess is an ideal time for farmers and ranchers to advocate for agriculture. Chad Smith has more on how to make the most of the summer break.
Smith: The August recess is a chance for members of Congress to reconnect with their constituents. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says it’s also the perfect time for farmers and ranchers to talk to their legislators about agriculture.
Duvall: Reach out to them, have a conversation with them, go to town hall meetings, call and invite them to their farm and show them how the issues are affecting them, and just tell their stories. We do a great job at growing the food and fiber for this country, but sometimes we don't take enough time to tell our story, and they need to tell their story to their congressmen and senators so that they represent them well in Washington.
Smith: Duvall says some of the main issues that farmers and ranchers should bring up to their elected officials include the need to expand rural broadband access, improve infrastructure, and protect stepped-up basis.
Duvall: Broadband is not a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity; through education, healthcare, and for farmers and ranchers to do climate-smart farming and be able to market their crops and do all the right things to keep us on the cutting edge. We need the infrastructure discussion to carry on. A lot of money has been spent to help us get through the pandemic and there is more that’s going to be spent on infrastructure. We need to make sure that they don't cripple our ability to pass our farms on to the next generation by doing away with our stepped-up basis or any of the tax advantages that we have to be able to pass our farms on to the next generation.
Smith: Duvall says there are plenty of advocacy opportunities outside of the August recess, including through social media, emails, and the "old-fashioned, hand-written letter.” Farm Bureau does have online information available to help farmers and ranchers with their advocacy efforts.
Duvall: We invite everybody to go on to the American Farm Bureau website and look for all the updated issues and the policies that we support or don’t support and the issues we might have with it. There are a lot of places for our members or any individual to find out where agriculture stands on these issues.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.