BY RACHEL ABEH, Montana Stockgrowers Association intern
Students from Montana State University and Texas Tech University, including myself, traveled to our nation’s capital last week for a look at the impacts being made in Washington by agriculture organizations. Each of us is a student in our respective university’s college of agriculture. We went mainly to meet with the “who’s who” in the agriculture industry and learn about what their organizations are currently working on to better agriculture in politics.
We met with staff of the House Ag Committee, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, USDA-NIFA, and U.S. Wheat Counsel. These organizations welcomed our questions about the industry and offered a lot of insight from all sectors of agriculture. That week was perhaps the best to visit D.C., as the Farm Bill got rolling and biotech wheat was discovered.
A lot is happening in the industry in general and economic, legislative, and trade topics were discussed heavily by each organization. Additionally, we learned about the alliances between these organizations, which give agriculturalists an even stronger voice in D.C. This showcased to cohesiveness of agriculturalists and put into prospective the power of our industry.
I was most interested with the information we got from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA), students from MSU and Tech alike could relate to the beef industry. NCBA discussed the future of the beef industry, and their role as lobbyist and advocates for their members. Especially in the recent work with the Farm Bill as it moves out of committee. NCBA discussed the challenges lay ahead for producers in relation to the Farm Bill; however, they remain hopeful as the Farm Bill progresses.
Ultimately, the trip to D.C. offered excellent prospective into the work that is done by the organizations in our industry. The ability to see the places and the people that are a driving force in the industry was invaluable to each of us and is an encouragement despite the negative connotations Washington sometimes holds.