Being a congressman is not an easy job. After spending almost the entire summer in D.C. so far, our Illinois Congressmen are probably ready to be home. Instead of being in D.C., on their schedule for the entire month of August is you. That’s right, it is almost time for their in-district work period. While your elected official is not in session, this is by no means a break for them, and it certainly is not a break for you. This time is the prime opportunity for constituents, like you, to voice their concerns about pressing legislative issues.
It says a lot to elected officials when farmers come to visit them. When they develop a personal relationship with you, they are more likely to work on issues that increase farmer profitability, benefitting your business and livelihood. It is important that you talk about your concerns about the future of farming, and have prepared some issues to talk about.
If you are up on things like the need to update locks and dams, the need to make higher blends of ethanol more accessible, or even opening trade to foreign markets, that is great. If you aren’t, that is okay because all you need to do is voice your concerns. Something that affects every farmer is crop insurance. Share your personal experiences with government policies that directly have an impact on your livelihood.
Have a respectful conversation with the congressman. Make an appointment, wear nice clothes, give them a business card, and make sure to write a thank you. Congressmen are elected in their district to serve their constituents. They try their best to tend to every issue and be educated as possible about their issues. Of their many talents, the ability to read minds is not on their resume, so it is your responsibility to speak your mind about what you want to be done.