Washington is a much different place than it was the last time we tried to write a Farm Bill. As a result, the way farmers talk about farm programs must also change. Patrick Delaney is director of policy communications with the ASA in Washington which means his job is to communicate farm policy to lawmakers and bureaucrats. He says the way we communicate about agriculture needs to change, “Our arguments and opinions about the Farm Bill have got to get tighter. They have to be more succinct and impactful.” He said today Washington lives in a 140 character world, “The President and the administration respond very well to very simple information. So it is really a challenge for farmers to figure out a better way of talking about what they do.”
He said, when farmers talk about farm programs, they need to keep it personal, “We have seen farmers be the most effective when they talk about what programs like crop insurance mean on their farms.” He told HAT that getting this message out will be vital to keeping these programs funded and in place. “There is no money falling from the sky, so we have to be more effective in telling out story,” he said.
Speaking at this week’s Policy Summit, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Growers Association, Brooke Appleton, Director of Public Policy with the National Corn Growers Association in Washington, urged producers to drop some of the old arguments. “Stop talking about how we feed the world. That is not something most lawmakers can relate to,” she stated. She suggested stressing how farmers are part of a safe and sustainable food supply instead, “That is something most members of Congress can relate to.” She also stressed how agriculture must build coalitions with other non-farm groups to insure we can get a Farm Bill passed.