The California Farm Bureau is giving a face to California farmers by taking producers to the U.S. capital. Representatives get a personal experience, and leaders say that pays dividends when advocating for agriculture.
The California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) makes it possible for national representatives to meet growers from the Golden State every spring. “Our California Farm Bureau board of directors found it important to go back (to Washington, D.C.) for a few days to meet with elected officials and agency folks,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said.
Wenger said this face-to-face meeting is important in general, but even more so in years where there is a changeover. “It’s especially important in years where you have a transition of power — so every two years when congress changes, when committee assignments change and clearly every four years,” Wenger said. “Especially here with so many changes happening and the change of party in the White House, we find it very important.”
The payoff comes later when groups advocate for agriculture because they now have a face and story they’re familiar with. “It really helps those who are lobbyists in Washington, D.C., if we can put the face of the farmer with the names California Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau,” Wenger said. “Having our actual producers meet congressional, agency and administration representatives, look them in the eye and tell them their story really helps those folks that work for us in the advocacy realm and our lobbyists later on in the year to know that they aren’t just talking and representing somebody that nobody has ever seen. Now they can put a face with the name and know what California agriculture is all about.”