Washington DC Fly-In Key to Connecting with Lawmakers
More than 150 farmers and ranchers from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet directly with lawmakers and discuss priorities for the 2023 farm bill. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Advocacy Fly-In included remarks from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Penn.), and Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.). House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott (D-Ga.) sent a video message.
“The AFBF advocacy fly-in was a great way to connect with our colleagues from across the country to bring a unified voice to capitol hill,” said Arizona Farm Bureau Government Relations Director Chad Smith. “The message was clear 'Tell your story.' And they told lawmakers the impacts that the farm bill, labor, and WOTUS have on their day-to-day lives and in their operations. The fly-in is a great reminder of how influential and powerful the Farm Bureau lobby really is.”
“It’s crucial that lawmakers hear directly from the people who are affected by farm policy,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “America’s farmers and ranchers are dedicated to growing the food, fuel and fiber families across the nation rely on. We know how important the farm bill is to maintain a secure and sustainable food supply. I’m confident the personal stories shared by our members will help inspire lawmakers to support and swiftly pass a new farm bill.”
Attendees were informed that more than half of Congress –– 260 members –– have never worked on a farm bill, making personal stories of impact even more important. AFBF members also discussed other pressing issues facing agriculture, including the impact of the recent Sackett v. EPA decision by the Supreme Court, as well as the need for Congress to address agricultural labor reform.
Agriculture Committee leaders spoke before the group fanned out across Capitol Hill. They discussed the challenges they’ll face in getting the farm bill passed this year and urged attendees to speak with as many elected leaders as they can, both in Washington and when members of Congress return home. They stressed the value of personal connections and stories of direct impact, including through the Advocacy Fly-In.
“I was glad to join Chairman Thompson, and Ranking Member Boozman at the Farm Bureau’s 2023 Advocacy Fly-In,” said Chairwoman Stabenow. I look forward to working with the Farm Bureau, as I always have, to pass a bipartisan farm bill that reflects the diversity of American agriculture, provides strong, responsible risk management tools for our nation’s farmers, supports our rural communities, and continues vital nutrition assistance programs on which millions of Americans rely.”
Chairman Thompson added, “To have an effective farm bill, we must reach across the aisle and the Capitol. Conversations like the one we had here today highlight the importance of bipartisan and bicameral work to support our nation’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers and consumers.”
Rep. Scott said, “Today’s discussion with the American Farm Bureau Federation is critical to ensuring the next farm bill adequately supports America’s diverse agriculture industry. The farm bill contains programs and policies that support the well-being of America as a whole, from coast to coast and from farmers to families. I am committed to working with my colleagues across the aisle to pass a bipartisan farm bill that gives America’s farmers the reassurance they need to continue ensuring America’s position as a world-leading producer of food and fiber, and to ensuring we continue our fight against poverty and hunger with a strong nutrition title.”
Additionally, Senator Boozman added, “I am grateful for the opportunity to join with my colleagues at the Farm Bureau’s 2023 Advocacy Fly-In. This is the perfect time for members to be in Washington to make their voices heard on the farm bill. There is simply no substitute for speaking directly with lawmakers about the impact decisions made in Washington have on your livelihoods at home. I’m a firm believer in the idea that the best ideas come from the ground up.”