Taking the message to Capitol Hill
For most American citizens, performing their civic duty begins and ends with pulling a lever on Election Day. While some may be happy with allowing their elected representatives to speak for their interests, those in the potato industry know that their civic responsibilities reach far beyond the voting booth.
Soon after Congress begins its new two-year legislative session, potato growers and industry leaders from all over the country will travel to Washington, D.C. to renew their efforts on behalf of policy priorities that could impact our farms and operations for generations to come.
At the National Potato Council’s annual Potato D.C. Fly-In, from Feb. 25-28, 2013, growers learn about how the laws and regulations being considered by Congress and the administration could affect their businesses. They then unite with their fellow growers and industry partners in to deliver their messages directly to lawmakers and federal regulators on Capitol Hill.
Like all agriculture trade organizations, NPC’s staff works in and around Capitol Hill to advocate for its members. However, as a grower-driven organization, the real strength of NPC comes from the growers who get involved.
Over the past few years, the industry has witnessed a number of major policy successes — including Congress blocking USDA’s plan to limit potatoes in school meals, the signing of three significant bilateral free trade agreements, and maintaining potato research funding through USDA — but none of this would have happened without the involvement of growers themselves.
Having regulators and members of Congress hear directly from growers about industry priorities makes a real impact. The fact is, most people in Washington did not grow up on farms. They don’t understand our issues, but many of them truly want to learn. Through the Fly-In’s Capitol Hill Day, growers can provide real-world examples of how legislative and regulatory decisions affect real local businesses, economies, and jobs.
At the 2013 Fly-In, growers will lead the industry’s efforts to:
• Shield farms from burdensome environmental regulations;
• Improve immigration laws to allow farms to hire the workers they need when they need them;
• Fight for fair estate and capital gains tax laws.
Learn how you can make a difference in Washington, D.C. by visiting http://www.nationalpotatocouncil.org or by calling us at (202) 682-9456.
NPC's Potato D.C. Fly-In is open to all grower and industry leaders eager to advance the potato industry's most pressing policy debates. There is strength in numbers, so everyone should consider joining the potato team at the Fly-In to help make a difference for our industry. I hope to see you in D.C.
By John Keeling