The influence of Maryland Farm Bureau was on full display when County Farm Bureau presidents and Maryland Farm Bureau board members took the farm message to Capitol Hill in late September. Visits with Maryland representatives and senators took place during the two-day County Presidents Leadership Summit that was based out of American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) headquarters in Washington D.C.
After being briefed by AFBF policy specialists on the current status of issues, the group split up and headed to Capitol Hill to deliver the farm message to six Maryland representatives. Some of the meetings were in-person, some were with staff specialists, and one was virtual — illustrating that Congress has not yet returned to its pre-COVID routine. The next morning, the entire group heard from and was able to ask questions of both Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen at the Capitol Visitors Center.
The issues that were discussed with elected officials, included:
- Adequate funding for and prompt passage of the 2023 Farm Bill.
- The need for tax code certainty in the face of expiring small business tax relief.
- The importance of expanding high-speed broadband service to all areas of Maryland.
- The negative impact that inflation and rising input costs are having on farm businesses.
Personal stories shared by MDFB members drove home the importance of Congress dealing with these issues in a prompt and meaningful way.
The lobby trip to Washington to meet members of Congress on their turf is only one of the many ways that MDFB works to influence national policy to help Maryland agriculture. The organization also maintains regular contact with Congressional offices, organizes in-district meetings and farm tours for elected officials, submits comments to regulatory agencies, and coordinates individual grassroots advocacy for maximum impact.