By Brooke S. Appleton
I still remember arriving in Washington, D.C., as a young congressional intern and quickly figuring out my favorite and not so favorite aspects of the city. The hot, sticky summers here were one of my least favorite parts of Washington. But the August recess, which originated because of the intense summer heat, was golden to me, as the city became quieter and staffers could go on much-needed vacations or, in my case, go home to see family and friends.
So, I’m thankful that August recess has arrived once again in the nation’s capital. And members of Congress are making the time-honored trip home this month to meet and talk with their constituents. This is an ideal time for our members to connect with their elected officials and raise issues that are important to corn growers.
The issue most top of mind right now is the farm bill, which is up for reauthorization this year. The National Corn Growers Association has launched a call-to-action that allows you to easily share your thoughts with members of Congress from the ease of your own home with only a few clicks. As part of this campaign, we are sharing videos featuring farmers talking about our top priorities for the farm bill.
As a farmer from Kansas says in one of the videos, it is all about “crop insurance, crop insurance, crop insurance.” As he explains, crop insurance not only provides protection for farmers during droughts, but it is also an important source of aid when crops are damaged by other adverse weather events, such as strong winds and hailstorms. He notes that crop insurance looks good to creditors as farmers secure operating loans and is crucial to protecting rural and small-town economies.
The videos also feature stories touching on NCGA’s other farm bill priorities: bolstering international development, strengthening the producer safety net and supporting voluntary conservation programs. You can view these videos on our website.
We need you and, indeed, all our members, to amplify the sentiments from these stories by sharing your own narrative with your U.S. representative and senators. You can do this very easily by clicking here. We also encourage you to share the videos and the link to the call-to-action on your social media platforms. Please use the hashtag #cornaction.
During this August recess, your members of Congress will likely be hosting town hall meetings with constituents this month. Please pay attention to local news outlets, which will most likely announce the date, time and place of these meetings. If you are available to do so, please attend one and politely bring up our farm bill priorities and ask your policymakers what their positions are. When members of Congress hear that the farm bill is a priority to constituents, it helps our team make the case for our priorities when we meet with members and their staff on Capitol Hill.
I know at the end of the day we are going to walk away with a farm bill that supports the needs of farmers. And we will look at August as a crucial month in our advocacy efforts.
Here’s to August recess. Here’s to the farm bill. Here’s to a cooler season ahead!
Appleton is vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.