Our recent trip to Washington D.C. was astounding. Many people looking like they are in a hurry to go nowhere! Most places, you have to stand in line. Many people to talk to with many different opinions from all the United States. When you enter this very urban setting, you can’t help but feel as far removed agriculture as humanly possible. However, just 45 minutes west, there are some amazing things going on in agriculture!
One of my favorite experiences was a visit with the “Lettuce Lady” at Endless Summer Harvest. Talk about taking full potential of the resources you have! They are growing the equivalent of 12 acres worth of lettuce in just 12,000 square feet in their hydroponic greenhouses. Mrs. Taylor was kind enough to treat us to supper which consisted of lettuce from her farm. Truly the best salad I have ever eaten.
But again, just east of this little oasis, one would never know how close they are to production agriculture. As agriculturalists, we are comfortable conveying our views and opinions amongst groups whose views and values are similar to ours. How often do we go to Washington D.C to visit with elected officials to voice our side of issues they will be voting on affecting our industry? I am blessed enough to live in the northern Shenandoah Valley and could make the trip more often than most. Many people in the country never even get to see its capital. So who speaks for us?!
We had the pleasure of meeting with many groups who have chosen the hustle and bustle lifestyle that is D.C. to bring forth the views of the agriculture community. The folks at the Agricultural Retailers Association are strong advocates for ag retailers, that are an essential part of helping farmers become and remain profitable. They tirelessly work to make sure their members continue to have the freedom to operate their businesses to best serve the folks growing the food and fiber (that’s for Shelley!).
Many times in our “click” of comfortable friends, it is easy to talk issues and discuss policies that affect our industry. When you ask these folks if they raise these issues with their elected officials however, a common response is: “It doesn’t matter. They’ll never get the message.” Well I assure you friend, the special interest groups who’s track record are not favorable to agriculture interests are telling their story.
It doesn’t matter how far you are removed from Washington D.C., there are folks taking our best interests to heart and to the hill! After this visit, I am proud to see that there are many people who can speak for me and my views on agriculture policy.
Know to add some photos I snapped on this trip!