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Farmers need to be proactive on the issues

Photo by Dustin Hoffmann

There are many issues facing agriculture right now. Trade is the top of mind as we are seeing farmers feeling the effects of several trade negotiations and the trade war with China. We cannot also forget the debacle in the handling of the RFS or even the need for upgraded internet connectivity in the rural areas. It is imperative that farmers make their voices heard.

Audio: Full Interview with Chuck Spencer, Growmark Government Relations

It is human nature to complain when things aren’t going right. It is also human nature to talk about how issues should be handled. If you do not believe it happens in agriculture, just go to your local coffee shop, café, or elevator and listen to the discussions in the morning. I remember vividly the tables in the coffee shop at the c-store in my hometown. Local business owners and farmers sitting around a table, playing cards, and solving the world’s problems.

I am by no means saying this is a bad thing. It is getting a conversation going. The problem is you are not taking the next step in this process, and that is going to your elected officials. Chuck Spencer works on Government Relations for Growmark. He says the best ideas come from ordinary citizens talking to their representation at the local, state, and national levels and proposing solutions. At the very least, you are letting them know what is happening on the ground in their districts.

We have the right in this country to petition our problems to any level in the government. That’s the beauty of the republic. You can communicate all the way to the White House if you want to. It is perfectly legal to make a call, send an email, or write a letter. The odds of you speaking on the phone to the President are very slim, but there are people there who can take your message on.

Human nature is to also sit back and say, “my voice won’t be heard.” If you have this attitude and do not try, I can promise you your voice will not be heard. True, you are one voice. But if you can also convince others to raise those concerns, then you have added voices. Just think, what would be possible if each of us convinced one more person to speak up? Many voices will get the attention of our elected officials. If it works at city council and county board meetings, it can work at the state and national levels as well.

It is well documented that rural America is the force that drove the last Presidential elections. I am not here to debate politics; I am saying that the numbers don’t lie. If rural America can come together, it can get the nation’s attention. Use your voice. Use your rights as American citizens. A person in New York or Los Angeles doesn’t have any more rights guaranteed them by the constitution than you do. They have just learned to band together in a common cause, and that is what has captured the nation’s attention.

Use your voice. You are the only one who can.

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