Member profile: Logan Davis D.C. experience
Monday, August 5, 2019
Posted by: Maria Woldt, director of members comm. & events
Earlier this summer, Edge member Logan Davis attended the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) Washington Conference in Washington D.C. on behalf of Edge. Together with Edge staff and contractors, Davis spoke to lawmakers about key issues facing the dairy community. We sat down with Davis to talk about his experience.
What is your background?
I attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. After graduation, I went to work for Commodity and Ingredient Hedging in Chicago. It was there that I was exposed to agricultural commodity markets and trading.
Tell us about your dairy farms
Davis Family Dairies is comprised of three dairies in Nicollet County, Minn. Our milking herd is currently just over 9,000 Jersey and Jersey crosses. We also have a calving facility in Nicollet County that houses about 2,500 young stock.
What is your role at Davis Family Dairies?
Working in the dairy community, as you all know, our roles can vary by the day. For the most part, I help manage the system’s forward price risk and feed procurement. When working with price projections and markets, we’re fortunate to have others in our farm involved as well.
What was your favorite session or aspect of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) Washington Conference?
The NCFC Conference in Washington provided so many interesting opportunities, it’s hard to pick one! I’d have to say the “Being an advocate in Washington” session was particularly helpful because it occurred before the scheduled hill visits I attended with Edge. Kam Quarles, the CEO of the National Potato Council, explained what matters to congressional leaders and how to convey our needs in a way that is interesting to them.
This helped me both observe and participate in the meetings I attended with John Holevoet and the Michael Torrey Associates team. The session helped to shorten the learning curve for the visits that were my favorite aspect of the trip.
Have you lobbied in Washington before? What do you like? What were you surprised by?
I have not lobbied prior to the NCFC conference. I most enjoyed the hill visits. I was surprised at the diverse range of agricultural intelligence, and subsequent interest level about the issues that most impact agribusiness.
Regardless of political party, I was impressed by the leaders who had made a conscious effort to place knowledgeable and caring staff members in front of us. Many of these districts were made up of farm communities and large rural populations, the Senators and Representatives that staffed the appropriate people gave me confidence that our voices would be heard.
What did you learn that will impact your role at Davis Family Dairies?
We need to be more conscious of what we see in our day to day. Often times, there isn’t a solution to these problems that can come from Washington, but I suspect there are more instances that can be addressed than we recognize. I also believe that when we see a problem locally, there are many others in our network that are experiencing the same issues. I look forward to utilizing the expertise and network we have through Edge to discuss these items when they occur. Edge can only help if they are aware. I think that was my biggest take away from the week.
What advice do you have for other Edge members who may be “on the fence” about lobbying in DC? Do farmer voices make a difference to lawmakers?
I think that having a voice in Washington is important, particularly for our industry. The US population is becoming more urban. The issues of importance for urban and rural voters are drastically different. As an industry, agriculture represents more than our own interests. We give a voice to the communities we operate in. If we don’t ensure ourselves a presence in the American political process, we will continue to see jobs migrate to the cities and suburbs. We need agriculture, along with other industries, to keep rural communities economically viable. We lose our ability to support rural America if we don’t participate.