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'Grassroots do make a difference' — MFB members reflect on Washington Legislative Seminar

MFB members from Michigan’s 2nd congressional district met with Rep. John Moolenaar in his office on Capitol Hill during the 2023 Washington Legislative Seminar. There, they talked about the upcoming farm bill, labor costs, milk prices, and more. Image credit: Farm News Media
Date Posted: March 30, 2023

What do you get when you take nearly 100 Michigan Farm Bureau members to visit Capitol Hill?

Access, education, and — above all else — results.

After a two-year hiatus, MFB’s Washington Legislative Seminar (WLS) returned to the nation’s capital March 21-23, and members were eager to share their stories with lawmakers and other key officials.

Whether it was taking a deep dive into the farm bill, looking at the future of international trade, talking with USDA and EPA officials on crop protections, or taking part in a question-and-answer session with Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, MFB members made their voices heard to the decisionmakers who influence policy at the national level.

“I think as a Farm Bureau member, this is kind of one of the most important things we can do,” said WLS attendee and Kent County Farm Bureau member Allan Robinette, manager of Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery and graduate of MFB’s Academy for Political Leadership.

“We can make all the policy we want and can create the biggest policy book in the world but unless we come and apply it and really hold our legislators to what we want from them, we’re not going to get much from them. We need farmers to come to legislators as their constituents and say, ‘We’re here, and we need to be heard.’”

MFB members also took part in face-to-face meetings with House lawmakers from their districts, visiting them in their own offices to talk about how Congress can help farmers succeed. Conversations centered around the importance of the 2023 Farm Bill, concerns about labor cost and availability, input challenges, and more.

“My favorite quote in life is: ‘The world is run by those who show up,’” said Cass County Farm Bureau member Dan Wyant, WLS attendee and former director of MDARD and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

“Farm Bureau has historically been the premier agency with respect to grassroots investments — and grassroots do make a difference.”

Read more about the 2023 WLS in the links below and check out the photo gallery at the bottom of the page.