When a new Congress is sworn in following an election, they have two years to conduct business. To our Edge member farmers, two years is ample time to accomplish even their biggest priorities. But in Congress, two years is actually much shorter than what it seems.
For perspective, this Congress has already worked over a third of the total number of legislative days before its two years are up. Congress’ time will most likely be cut even shorter with a contentious election coming up next November. There is no better time to engage your elected officials to ensure Congress acts on our issues.
August recess just began. Your Representatives and Senators are back in district and state until they report back to D.C. on Sept. 9. They will be at the fairs, festivals and other community events that you’ll probably be at too. Walk up, introduce yourself and have a conversation. Remember they work for you and want to know what you think.
There is no shortage of issues affecting our dairy community for you to talk about. Trade and ag workforce are two longstanding issues among the many others primed for you to make an impact.
Over the last few years, we’ve talked about the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) a lot and we need to talk about it even more. Your lawmakers need to understand USMCA’s importance to dairy and ultimately vote yes.
As much as an ag workforce solution seems mythical, the need for a fix has never been more important. Last Congress ended with a bipartisan bill in the House with over 100 co-sponsors. You would be hard-pressed to find any other bill on any issue with that many co-sponsors. As important as a solution is to our nation’s ag community, this issue is still hotly contested. The closer we get to the 2020 election, the less Congress will be motivated to act. If a solution has any chance of becoming a reality, it must be debated soon.
Our elected representatives need to know that they need to consider ideas that allow us to retain our existing workforce and create a pathway for new workers.
While August recess is an important time for legislators themselves to be back, this is also a time when their D.C. office staff, their most trusted advisors, visit too. Some of whom have never been on a dairy farm. This is an opportunity to showcase the dairy community, show off the great farms we have and help them gain a deeper understanding of our issues.
If you have never engaged in a policy discussion, the time is ripe for you to start. Even though the 2020 election is over a year away, there will be a spotlight on the issues that matter to YOU. Use August recess to springboard into the discussion so the dairy community’s issues are everybody’s issues leading up to next November. Remember to contact us if you need any help contacting your legislators – we are here to help!