Thursday, February 26, 2015

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Farmers, ranchers call on Capitol Hill to address agriculture’s needs

Washington–Nearly 500 Farm Bureau members from across America are visiting policymakers on Capitol Hill today to discuss the most pressing issues facing agriculture.

Today’s meetings are part of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Advocacy Conference. Farmers and ranchers representing nearly all commodities from 43 states gathered in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss top policy priorities and hone their grassroots advocacy efforts.

Fox News’ Dana Perino, White House press secretary for George W. Bush, and Donna Brazile, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, kicked off the conference, emphasizing how important it is to build bridges and make connections across party lines.

Additional sessions covered Farm Bureau’s top issues, social media advocacy trends and being a successful Farm Bureau advocate.

Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) emphasized that regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on or whether you represent an urban or a rural district, agriculture is important to everyone.

Talking to Farm Bureau members about how to create stories to move the hearts, minds and votes of lawmakers, Brad Fitch of the Congressional Management Foundation shared the best practices of advocacy story-telling. Among them are opening with “the want,” setting the stage and establishing the stakes.

Just before heading to Capitol Hill today, Advocacy Conference attendees heard from Dr. Ben Carson. The well-known pediatric neurosurgeon and New York Times best-selling author stressed that the founders of this country expected citizens who were informed and involved.

Farm Bureau members are meeting with their elected representatives to discuss a wide range of issues including: immigration, tax reform, international trade, the Endangered Species Act, water regulation and biotechnology.

“Congress needs to hear straight from farmers and ranchers about the issues and regulations that affect their ability to do their jobs each day,” Dale Moore, executive director of public policy for AFBF, said. “Farmers and ranchers are on the frontlines working to feed a booming global population. They are the best representatives to tell agriculture’s story and explain to policymakers how legislation can make or break the future for more than a million family farms and ranches.”

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