For me, advocacy started when I was rather young. Growing up, the closest neighbor to our family was the representative for my district. I always marveled at all the positive results he obtained. He taught me that the process does work. Later on, however, I realized how much orchestrating and detail went in to obtaining his superior results.
This life experience has helped me grow as a county leader and on the state board of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. The MSGA has taught me that advocacy often is a complex and daunting task. Yet because of the MSGA’s understanding of the entire process, we see how so much can be gained by simplifying that process, which we believe empowers our MSGA members to help us make a difference.
While your state directors set the direction for the organization and work to achieve priority goals each year, we know a full association, with one very loud soybean voice, can truly make the difference. With that said, I am reaching out to all my fellow MSGA members to help in this process.
Through the next several months, I will bring you details and action plans about what you can do in your own backyard to make a different in the legislative process, which starts with the 2015 legislative session.
While the MSGA is more than 4,000 strong, we as farmers are few compared to the population at large. Once upon a time, farmers could rely on a trade association to be the only link between them and policy makers. Unfortunately, those days are no longer here. To truly have an impact, we all need to be involved in the process. The MSGA will tackle the issues in St. Paul and Washington, but what about when the legislators aren’t at the Capitol? This is where you make the difference.
My hope is that by providing you with a strategy throughout the year, we can make a difference together. This has to be a two-way conversation with you. Together we can build some synergies and help legislators make the best decisions.
Paul Freeman is a soybean farmer from Starbuck. He is Vice President of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and is the chair of the Advocacy action team, which is made up of 12 MSGA directors. Paul can be reached at email@example.com.