LANSING — A linchpin of Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) calendar since the 1950s, Lansing Legislative Seminar is the organization’s annual policy kickoff and among our members’ best opportunities for personal contact with their state senators and representatives.
Registration is open through Feb. 2 for the event that takes place Feb. 27 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing.
Members previously attending the seminar roundly praised it as one of the organization’s key events.
“It’s important for our representatives in Lansing know that Michigan agriculture is alive and well,” said Newaygo County’s Larry Smith. “Farm Bureau members who travel to Lansing are what agriculture in their districts looks like—normal people—working the land to make a living and being good stewards of the environment to pass it on to the next generation.”
Over and over, attendees echo the value of the “face time” with lawmakers Lansing Legislative Seminar affords.
“It’s important to talk to lawmakers in person; I never talked to a legislator until I went to Lansing Legislative Seminar,” said Emmet County’s Ben Blaho. “There I learned why it’s important to be in contact with them. After I came home and made that first call, I was surprised how easy it was to give them my view.”
Dairyman Paul Pyle, then president of the Ottawa County Farm Bureau, echoed the sentiment.
“I think that's part of the value—the more you meet someone, the easier it is to talk to them,” Pyle said. “We're building relationships so in the future we can capitalize on them if needed.”
Beyond the value of personal contact, Lansing Legislative Seminar also helps motivate members to become more active participants in the legislative process and in Farm Bureau as a whole.
“It was the first time I actually felt empowered in making an impact on legislation,” said Liz Snoblen from Oakland County. “It made such a big impact I'm now pursuing other opportunities for similar experiences. I'll be reaching out to my county Farm Bureau office to see how I can get more involved.”
The day begins with an optional morning tour of the Michigan capitol and a new AgriPac fundraising reception. For a $40 donation to the organization’s political action committee, members can enjoy networking, a light breakfast and a short program that will launch AgriPac’s 40th anniversary celebration.
The main event begins at lunchtime, and includes welcoming remarks from MFB President Carl Bednarski, presentation of the Grass-roots Lobbying Award to one deserving county Farm Bureau, and a keynote from Matt Rush. A New Mexico farmer and cattle rancher, Rush’s message, “The Power of an Inch,” examines the opportunities life presents in times of challenge and controversy.
Policy issue experts take center stage in the afternoon, briefing attendees on farm taxes, water use, upcoming ballot initiatives, animal agriculture industry amendments, and career and technical education inclusion.
That’s followed by the late-afternoon legislative reception, where members will mingle with more than 100 lawmakers and regulatory officials expected to attend.
For more information, visit the LLS web page, and register with your county Farm Bureau by Feb. 2.