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Perils of Ignoring Politics

Perils of Ignoring Politics
MFBF Member, Susan Lake.

My husband and I farm a thousand acres on the Flathead Indian Reservation.  We raise potatoes, grain, hay & cattle.  We are proud members of the Montana Farm Bureau and appreciate the job the staff does to protect our industry while we are busy farming.  Jack is on the Ag & Trade Policy Committee and I am on the Water Policy Committee

One of Montana Farm Bureau's strengths is training the grass roots membership to lobby and advocate for our industry.  Being able to go to Washington D.C. this year with Nicole Rolf was a great opportunity.  To see that each one of our congressmen took time to visit with us and hear our concerns was a testament that we matter.  

I think we covered the most important issues to our industry.  We talked about labor, broadband, Endangered Species Act (ESA), Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and the CSKT Water Compact.  

Labor impacts us all as it gets harder and harder to get help on our farms and ranches.  No one seems to want to work the hours or do the hard physical and sometimes monotonous work that needs to be done.  We need a foreign labor program that works.

In order to keep up with technology we need broadband in our rural areas.  It isn’t a luxury it is a necessity.

Getting ag products to market is another necessity.  A one size fits all ELD requirement for our trucking industry is just another example of why farmers and ranchers need to stay engaged in the political process.   We woke up in the eleventh hour on this subject.  We needed to be part of the process earlier.

 

Susan Lake while in Washington D.C. for the MFBF Fly-In
The CSKT Water Compact is at a critical stage in its progression.   It has passed the state legislature and continues to go through rigorous vetting in Washington D.C.   We need to continue to educate our congressman.  
  
Our Farm Bureau staff and lobbyists are key to keeping us up to speed with what is happening in Washington D.C. and in Helena.  Farm Bureau members going to Washington D.C. with Nicole has an impact.  Our Congressmen heard firsthand what our concerns were and why we were there.  Every person had a different strength and Nicole kept us on task.  It was a great experience.

 

I would love it if we could convince every Farm Bureau member to get involved in politics.  We need retired farmers and ranchers in our legislature. (Ok, so they never retire!)  

 

We have to figure out how to get to our state legislature and if we can’t get there, we need to make sure our local representatives are visiting our farms and are at our meetings.  We need to support candidates who value our industry.  We cannot ignore politics, if we do, we do it at our peril.  

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Susan was one of three Farm Bureau members recently selected to participate in a D.C. Fly-In to visit with Montana's Congressional Delegation.  They spent time on Capitol Hill discussing current agricultural policy, met with staff of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Department of Interior and more! 

 

 

 



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