I recently had the opportunity to be a part of the Young Farmer and Agriculturalist Washington, D.C., Fly In, as one of four young farmers representing Northwestern Wisconsin. Our week in Washington was a mix of business and sightseeing. We met with staff at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to learn about dairy, the Farm Service Agency and rural broadband programs; visited the New Zealand Embassy to learn about the country’s agriculture and views on current trade talks with the U.S.; and the American Farm Bureau to review current issues impacting agriculture and received tips on how to successfully share our farming and ag stories with lawmakers.
These meetings helped us prepare for our congressional visits, which included a visit with Rep. Sean Duffy’s staff, Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Ron Johnson. I didn’t realize how important these visits were until we were going through our prep meetings and then actually visited with staff and lawmakers. It became very clear that if we, in agriculture, don’t speak up about issues that are impacting our farms and jobs, no one will, or if someone does, it may not be in our best interest. This is even true for those lawmakers who might not necessarily agree with our viewpoints. They still need to know where their constituents stand on issues.
Our voice in agriculture does matter and needs to be heard, even if we’re young farmers. I’m looking forward to being more involved in policy development meetings and our state’s Ag Day at the Capitol in the winter and encourage others to speak up on how issue impact their work in agriculture.
I own and manage Cylon Rolling Acres in northwestern Wisconsin. On my farm I raise Boer - Kiko meat goats on pasture.
Cylon (pronounced Si-lon) is the name of our township in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Sorry fans, our farm is not named after the robots of Battlestar Galactica.