Don't miss next Leaders to D.C. trip

If you are on the fence about taking the next step to get involved in Illinois Farm Bureau, I urge you to step away from the farm and apply for the March Leaders to Washington program.

There are many ways to make the most of your membership and expand your involvement. Last year, I took part in the fall Leaders to Washington program alongside 12 other members from across the state. This is a twice-a-year program that allows members like you and me to travel to Washington, D.C., and engage with appointed and elected leaders.

This opportunity gives members face-to-face meetings with agencies such as USDA and U.S. EPA, the Illinois congressional delegation, agriculture committee staff, agricultural attachés from our top trade partners and many others. It is a chance to convey Illinois Farm Bureau policy positions on a number of issues currently affecting our farms. And, in a year where the farm bill is intended to be drafted and passed, how could you pass up this opportunity? Our presence and voice are needed more than ever!

While in D.C., we get to make a difference and guarantee that agriculture’s voice does not go unheard. You’ll have the opportunity to communicate Farm Bureau priorities with examples from your farm to your elected and appointed federal officials. The next farm bill is already gaining national attention and that is sure to continue as the year progresses. Ensuring that our top farm bill priorities are included in the 2023 bill will require us to advocate harder than we’ve done in years past. Worried about not being familiar with every item on Farm Bureau’s congressional agenda? No worries, IFB staff will prepare you to be well versed and engaged with the most relevant information when it’s your turn to advocate on the Hill.

The 118th Congress introduced seven new U.S. senators and 74 new U.S. representatives for a grand total of 81 new members. There are 260 members, or half of Congress, who were not in office when the 2018 farm bill was passed. In Illinois alone, we have four freshmen members of the delegation, three of which have been nominated to the House Agriculture Committee. We have a lot of ground to cover educating and meeting new members. The best way to accomplish this is to establish or continue building relationships with our elected representatives.

I understand that the thought of travelling to Washington can be a bit overwhelming, but it is well worth it. You’ll gain a better understanding of the way Congress works, meet other engaged Farm Bureau members, build a relationship with your elected leaders, and leave knowing your story is being told your way. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact your county Farm Bureau to get registered before Friday’s deadline.

Nowell Moore farms in Woodford County. He attended the Leaders to Washington program in fall 2022.