In conjunction with its Fall Legislative Fly-In earlier this month, National Farmers Union hosted its first Raising Voices event for young agricultural leaders. Thirty-three FFA and Professional Agricultural Student (PAS) members hailing from 14 states traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in an educational session and gain hands-on advocacy experience.
During a pre-Fly-In conversation, participants heard from National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule about the value of agricultural education programs for students’ long-term professional success. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion with young agricultural policy professionals, including NFU Government Relations Director Matt Perdue, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Government Affairs Director Mary Nowak, and House Subcommittee Staff Director for General Farm Commodities, and Risk Management Mike Stranz. The three answered questions about current agricultural policy, their own professional experiences in agriculture, and how to prepare for professional success.
Raising Voices attendees then joined Farmers Union members from their home states to meet face-to-face with their elected representatives. They and other Fly-In participants collectively visited all 535 congressional offices to discuss the farm economy, climate change, agricultural trade, competition in the food and agriculture sectors, and other policy priorities.
“Our legislators need to be hearing about the needs and concerns of new farmers and agricultural professionals – and nobody understands those issues better than these students,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “We hope this is just the start of their long futures in agricultural advocacy, and we look forward to seeing more blue jackets at Farmers Union events in the years to come!”