At the recent Women’s Leadership Conference, we had the privilege of hearing from “The Farm Babe” herself, Michelle Miller. The Farm Babe gave a presentation that was equal parts informative and inspiring, ending with a call to each person in the audience to speak up for what they believe in. After all, if the public is going to hear a message about agriculture, it should be yours.
Speaking up matters. It’s a simple truth, but not exactly a simple proposition. After all, speaking up takes time, effort, energy, and more than a little patience. The idea of presenting and defending a less-than-popular statement about agriculture from uninformed commenters on a social media site is intimidating. And in the meantime, you have a business to run, crops to plant, water to check, and a family to raise.
It’s no wonder our role as advocates so often takes a back seat.
The reality is that advocacy is just as crucial to the future of agriculture as any of the other tasks we do on a daily basis. No one believes more strongly in the power of our members’ stories than the Arizona Farm Bureau. And if you ask me, the easiest, most effective, and efficient place to start is by telling those stories to Arizona’s elected officials.
Yes, you read that right: if you want to get used to telling your story to the public, your congressmen, senators, and state legislators are the best place to start. First, they’re the ones who are making decisions about the laws and regulations that will determine how you can run your operation. And, believe it or not, they’re genuinely interested in how the decisions they make will impact their constituents. In a recent study by the Congressional Management Foundation, revealed that 96 percent of congressional staffers said that if their member of congress had not yet arrived at a firm decision on an issue, personalized messages would have either “some” or “a lot” of influence on how that member would ultimately vote. That means that nearly all Congressional offices are reading and paying attention to constituent messages when those messages contain unique personal stories.
Instead of being intimidated by the seemingly impossible task of being the next public crusader for agriculture, just start by sending a simple note to your state senator about how a bill they’re proposing will impact your farm. Dropping a postcard in the mail or clicking “send” on an email is all it takes to make sure a key decision-maker knows your story – no comment monitoring required. It’s advocacy in its most concentrated form.
Arizona Farm Bureau has an alert system to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest breaking political news and issues. By signing up for our calls to action, you’ll receive our regular legislative update. You’ll also have the option to communicate with our elected officials about key bills and regulatory issues with just a few simple clicks (but don’t forget to personalize the form letter we’ll provide!). Go to azfb.org today, click on “Public Policy,” and then “Action Center” to sign up for alerts.
And once you’ve gotten in some practice talking to your legislators, let’s start talking about that Twitter account.
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