By Roger Johnson, president, National Farmers Union
For generations, Farmers Union activists have come from across the land by bus, plane, automobile or train to bring the issues affecting the nation’s farm families directly to their members of Congress. And some of the participants have made several dozen trips to the nation’s capital over the years.
Although in recent years the event has been called “fly-in,” the name has changed over the years to reflect the predominant form of transportation used at the time. Regardless the mode of transportation used, the event has proven to be a very effective way to help hold policymakers’ feet to the fire on important issues to rural America.
Last year, more than 250 Farmers Union members participated in the fall fly-In, meeting with their elected representatives, as well as important U.S. Department of Agriculture and other administration officials. This event underscores that Farmers Union is truly a grass-roots organization that has been driven by its voting members for well over a century.
Our organization forms its national policies through the participation of family farmer and rancher delegates at our national convention, and then many of them come to Washington to bring those ideas to fruition. Fly-In participants always focus on issues of top importance to Farmers Union, aiming to have an impact on the direction of policies that will help rural America and the greater nation prosper.
This year, fly-in participants will have their hands full, as there are many key issues of concern, including Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), the Renewable Fuel Standard, and international trade.
They certainly have lots on their plates, but frankly, they’re up to the task.