When consumers are asked what a farmer looks like, most will describe an individual in overalls caring for animals. The idea of young farmers and ranchers traveling to Washington D.C. to interact with legislators does not cross their mind.

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s second year Young Farmers & Ranchers committee members strived to change that perception by spending four days in Washington D.C. in February.

The group, consisting of Taylor Hickman, Sean and Morgan McDonald, Walt and Ashley Rambo, Billy and Brittany Rodgers, David and Kelli Russell, Billy and Cala Tabb, and Matthew and Kayla Poe, had the opportunity to meet with numerous influential people to discuss their concerns.

American Farm Bureau Federation staff briefed the members on agriculture policy, while Cornerstone Governmental Affairs staff taught them about Mississippi’s influence on Capitol Hill.

“There are so many different pieces to agriculture policy,” YF&R Chairmen and poultry producer Taylor Hickman says. “I think we all learned more about the process it takes for policy to be developed this week, which is helpful to know when speaking to your legislators.”

The young farmers and ranchers had meetings with Rep. Trent Kelly, Rep. Michael Guest, Rep. Steven Palazzo, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Sen. Roger Wicker’s staff. Rep. Bennie Thompson was scheduled to meet with the group, but had to cancel due to committee meetings.

The meetings allowed an open floor for the group to voice the issues impacting their operations at home. One of the biggest topics of the meetings was trade.

“The biggest issues that our operation is faced with right now from the soybean side are the tariffs with China,” soybean and rice farmer Walt Rambo says. “I think it’s something they are working through and it’s going to take time. But they know our concerns.”