Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation members recently descended onto Jackson to take advantage of a unique opportunity to visit with their state and national representatives.
Due to limited legislative days on the United States House and Senate calendars during November, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation decided to conduct its annual Washington D.C. related member engagement activities at home through an event called the Washington D.C. Fly-In to the Farm.
“Instead of going to Washington, D.C. this year, we brought your elected officials and federal agencies officials to you,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick said.
The event kicked off with a welcome from American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. He discussed the “perfect storm” he believes the agriculture industry is experiencing by addressing issues involving trade, nuisance lawsuits, the farm bill and farm labor.
“The American Farm Bureau is 100 years old next year,” Duvall said. “We’ve been fighting these battles for a 100 years. Some of them are the same battles. But, we have the best opportunity of any leaders Farm Bureau has had, ever. It’s up to us.
“If our farmers don’t engage, we will fail to prepare this industry for our children and grandchildren and generations to come,” he continued. “The pressure is on us. I say me and you. I’m a farmer. I know what it’s like. I know what you’re going through. It’s our time to make a difference.”
In addition to Duvall, members had the opportunity to hear from numerous officials during the opening general session, including United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Ken Isley; USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach; United States Food & Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner for Food & Veterinary Medicine Dr. Stephen Ostroff; United States Environmental Protection Agency Southeastern Regional Administrator Trey Glenn; Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson; U.S. Senator Roger Wicker; and U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Following the general session, members broke out into congressional district constituent meetings with U.S. Congressman Trent Kelly, U.S. Congressman Gregg Harper, and U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo.
The entire event proved to be a success and beneficial to members, especially those who cannot travel far from their farms, according to Amite County Farm Bureau President and beef cattle farmer Gene Nunnery.
“I’ve never been able to go to the fly-in in Washington,” Nunnery said. “I look forward to going one day, but this gives me and a lot of other members the opportunity to meet with our representatives. Everything I learned today has been interesting. I may have never gotten the opportunity to speak with our officials if it wasn’t for this meeting.”
McCormick said he is excited by the number of members and officials who attended the event, and hopes to continue hosting a reverse fly-in in the future.
“I believe our members and our officials truly got something from this event,” McCormick said. “It provided an avenue for the two parties to communicate, which is invaluable for the agriculture industry.”