2022 Legislative & Commodity Conference
2022 LEGISLATIVE & COMMODITY CONFERENCE
“The purpose of this meeting is for the members of Farm Bureau to be able to sit down with their legislators and voice their concerns that they have in their communities or with their ranch or farming operations,” said Daniel Garner, State Board Director of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.
On February 8th, members of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation came from around the state to attend the 2022 Legislative & Commodity Conference in Boise.
“I think the purpose of this conference is to teach our members, our county presidents, board members and those that work with the different commodity commissions how to engage the people that enact the policy the affects us on a day to day basis within our operations,” said Stephanie Mickelsen, State Board Director of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.
The conference began with a luncheon where members were able to have a zoom call with Idaho’s congressional delegation from Washington D.C. and were briefed on some of the current happenings in the nation’s capital and were able to ask a few questions.
The afternoon was filled with meetings with a variety of commodity committees, were members heard the latest updates about beef, dairy and potatoes, just to name a few.
“So, they can have a good conversation about what their needs are, how the industry may be changing, what different challenges are coming down the pipeline,” said Mickelsen.
There were also meetings on the rule making process, and how best to build a relationship with legislators. Members were able to put that knowledge into action that evening at the Annual Legislative Dinner. Over 90 legislators and other agency heads were in attendance to share a meal and conversation with Farm Bureau members.
“It’s priceless.” “You can actually talk in a calm, quiet setting so that you have that opportunity to make them understand how the legislation that they’re passing is effecting the boots on the ground, so to say,” said Garner.
“Because at the end of the day they have a lot of special interests that are coming to them, and so if you can have a real person, a real constituent that can come and can explain the problems that they have with a set of regulations or problems, it’s more impactful to the legislators than if just say our lobbyists were to talk to them. By having our people, our growers, our ranchers speak on the issues it is definitely more impactful to the legislature,” said Mickelsen.
The next day attendees paid a visit to the Idaho statehouse, where they were able to see their legislators in action in committee hearings, as well as on the floors of the house and senate. Both Mickelson and Garner say they would urge members to attend and make sure their concerns are heard.
“Over the 30 some years that I’ve been a Farm Bureau member, the legislative and the commodity conference is probably one of the most important meetings I attend all year long,” said Mickelsen.
“If you don’t step and make your voice heard then someone else is obviously there filling that void, and so you want to make sure you take the opportunities that are available for you,” said Garner.
For the Voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.
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