Kelly and Janna traveled to Washington DC with members and staff of Indiana Farm Bureau on their New Leaders trip. We journeyed to the airport on Tuesday morning and made our way to our Nation's Capitol. After arriving safely in DC we visited the New Zealand Embassy and learned about agriculture there. New Zealand is actually the number one exporter of sheep meat and number one in the exports of dairy products. After our visit with New Zealand, we traveled to a nearby seafood restaurant where we had dinner and listened to President Don Villwock speak about issues and the happenings with Farm Bureau and issues with bills concerning agriculture. On Wednesday we had an enjoyable breakfast with guest speakers who spoke on the bills in the Senate and the House of which would be affecting farmers and agriculture in general. The rest of the day was spent on Capitol Hill. We first met with Senator Coats as we discussed the issues facing agriculture. Some such issues included regulations for farmers, estate tax, clean water and air acts, alternative fuels such as ethanol, the Perkins Act, and many more. After meeting with Senator Coats, we had the opportunity to meet with some members of the House Ag Committee. They spoke of the process of the farm bill and how long it normally takes. For the farm bill of 2008, hearings began in 2006 and the process took over 2 years! Next Kelly and I had the chance to meet with our Representatives from our respective districts with the Farm Bureau members. For the end of the day, we met with Senator Lugar and again discussed the same issues with him. Today (Thursday) at breakfast we listened to Anne Hazlett speak about energy issues and Tom Buis who works for Growth Energy speak about ethanol and energy issues. We then toured the American Farm Bureau Federation building. Free time around Washington DC will conclude our trip this afternoon before flying back to Indianapolis. This trip has been a great experience to learn about politics and learn just how we go about sparking to our congressmen about issues facing our agricultural industry.
Kelly and Janna
|From FFA: Following the Future of Agriculture|