We hear it all the time, lobbyists being blamed for all the corruption in Washington D.C. Who won’t blame them; they are the ones responsible for higher taxes, the deficit, deforestation of the rain forest, banker bailouts, terrible health care coverage, the list goes on and on. WRONG.
Tim and I are “lobbyists”, we belong to “lobbyist” groups and we work for our “special interests”. Are we the enemy? No, just the opposite. We are using our voice to let our elected officials know what our concerns are, especially on the topic of agriculture.
This past weekend Tim and I participated in the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Annual meeting. Our family has been lifelong members of Scott County Farm Bureau (SCFB). SCFB has over 100 farmer members. Tim serves as the president of our county board. SCFB is a member of MFBF and MFBF is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Each year at our county farm bureau meeting, we discuss policies and issues that concern us as a county. If these concerns are state or national in scope, we submit them to MFBF. At the MFBF annual meeting, voting delegates from all the counties in our state to discuss and debate the merits of the resolutions. After a resolution is passed, it is recorded into the MFBF policy book. This is the book that the MFBF staff uses when they lobby our state and national elected officials. National resolutions are submitted to the AFBF annual meeting and voted on in the same manner.What is truly wonderful about this process, is that our family can continue to do what we know best (farming) and we know that there are people out there lobbying on our (and 30,000 other members’) behalves. This what is called a grass-roots organization.
Even though we have lobbyists out there working for us, we still need to make those personal contacts with our elected officials. Elected people, want to be re-elected and will more likely vote in favor of what their own constituents wants, not the lobbyists. “Lobbying” on your our behalf is really easy. Just go to your elected official’s webpage, click on the “send me an email” button and let them know how you feel about a certain topic. I do it all the time and it usually take about 5 minutes. I always get a personal response (which is quite impressive in my mind).
One of the only intelligent quotes I heard from former Governor Ventura was “If you don’t vote, don’t b…ch” (he said this to a general assembly the year I went to Girls State, classy). Anywho, The point is, if you voice isn’t heard, then you cannot sit back and complain. For every value and belief you have, someone else has just the opposite. Your cause could be funding cancer research, education, city parks, changing the state bird from loon to robin, etc.
As the number of production agriculturalists shrinks, Tim and I feel it is more and more important to get out and tell people the real story of agriculture. As we all know, there are plenty out are who are not.