The Need To Lobby
We are coming to a time in agriculture where we need to decide to support or not support many local, state and national issues. Some will help and some will hurt agriculture. To most of us, it’s overwhelming. We know most of the issues before us, but may not understand them enough to make a good decision. The urge to just bury our heads in the sand and go about our daily lives is strong.
We need good lobbyists out there to assist us in deciding what to support and to attend the meetings to represent our interests. I really don’t know how we in agriculture could survive in today’s world without lobbyists on the local, state and national arena.
Years ago, a Washington D.C. lobbyist may have not had the greatest reputation, but those thoughts have turned around, especially in the agriculture, natural resource and public land fields representing ranchers and farmers.
We are fortunate in our state and region to have some great organization executives and lobbyists representing farmers and ranchers. With issues concerning state lands, water, wildlife access and public lands, we need good lobbying. Let’s face it, we have a lot of issues in the region and don’t have the time to go to every meeting.
The lobbyists we have are in tune with the issues and represent us well, they have our respect as they are professional, respectful and knowledgeable. They are good at keeping most new issues low key as they have them solved in a short time.
Most importantly, they are a great source of information for our state legislators as they follow the bills from introduction to law or until it is defeated or vetoed. The legislators depend on the lobbyist for their insight, especially if they are not familiar with an agriculture issue.
The lobbyists representing the national farm, public lands and livestock organizations in Washington D.C. are really respected by farmers and ranchers outside of Washington. Throughout the years, they have earned the respect from those in the agencies, Congress and the White House.
This has come about by developing a relationship with those for and against our industries. This relationship is the reason so many doors stay open and allows them to sit down and discuss the issues.
Policymakers don’t always agree with the lobbyist, but at least they can walk through the door and be a part of the discussion.
As many of you know, the best information comes from you, the farmer and rancher on the land. Your information means the most to a legislator, politician or agency member as the issue is in your area, on your private or public lands, and you have the most knowledge of the issue.
Whatever you do, keep the ag lobbyist informed on issues and work closely with them. They have the contacts and know the people involved. Most of all, thank them for the great job they do in keeping us in business. We appreciate them.