Young Farmers Ranchers will visit Washington in September
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation's young members, ages 18-35, have until June 1 to sign up for a trip to Washington, D.C.
Young Farmers & Ranchers will visit the nation's capital Sept. 15-19. The trip is a chance for them to speak with members of Congress about concerns regarding their farm, ranch or agriculture business. It's also an opportunity to meet and learn from each other while seeing the sights of Washington.
At the top of the agenda is a visit with American Farm Bureau Federation's public policy specialists. The specialists will present facts on important issues. Attendees will use this information to prepare for the next day's meetings with members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation.
"In the past, we've been fortunate enough to visit the majority of our representatives and both senators," said Karin Schaefer, special programs coordinator for Minnesota Farm Bureau. "...Taking an active role in the legislative process is a unique experience."
Minnesota Farm Bureau tries to set up these meetings so participants can speak with their district's representatives.
"Sometimes we meet with staff members and that can be very influential as well," Schaefer said.
The group will tour an embassy and regulatory agencies during the third day. Past groups have visited offices or research laboratories of the USDA as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. Attendees will go on a tour of the city's monuments that evening.
The schedule on Sept. 18 is free for sightseeing. Participants decide what they would like to see before returning to Minnesota on Sept. 19.
This is the first year Young Farmers & Ranchers haven't traveled to Washington in the spring with other Minnesota Farm Bureau members.
"Young Farmers & Ranchers have a different agenda and concerns in the legislative process," said Schaefer. "...We think this is an opportunity to connect with members of Congress. We're hoping to have a strong presence in D.C."
It's also an election year, she added, so that will be make the fall an interesting time to be in the city.
It's uncertain what topics legislators will be tackling by September, but one that has Farm Bureau concerned relates to estate taxes. As Young Farmers & Ranchers' parents and grandparents plan to transition their farms to the next generation, this will play into their decisions, Schaefer said.
Spots on the trip are available to finalists of Young Farmers & Ranchers contests in addition to 10 people who have not competed in the contests or serve on the YF&R committee. To reserve a spot, pay a non-refundable $150 deposit to Minnesota Farm Bureau by June 1.
The trip will cost an estimated $1,000 for people who are not finalists or committee members.
Contest finalists will pay $150. Another $150 will be paid by their county Farm Bureaus and the rest of their cost will be covered by Minnesota Farm Bureau.
The maximum number of attendees on this trip is 40 people.