Theresia Gillie

Freeman: Member Involvement Critical to MSGA Success

Paul Freeman

Paul Freeman, MSGA Vice President

During this legislative session, we saw opportunities to get agriculture research, funding and regulations back to more appropriate levels. A more normal session did help so we had the time to explain our positions during committee work and to our legislators when they were back home.

Thank you to all that made calls and contacts when action alerts were sent out. When polled, a majority of MSGA directors had made the calls to their legislators.

The efforts of MSGA members and MSGA directors really helped. I found it refreshing to be on the offense. Too often we are on the defense trying to protect what we have previously gained. The problem of being on the defense is the time and energy sacrifice, which could otherwise be used to pursue opportunities. I find it more rewarding to pursue progress and expand opportunities.

Tapping into membership of the largest soybean growers association in the nation is key in our effort to make a difference for agriculture. Hopefully, as the special session is held and the final budget is made public, we will have gained most of what we sought. Yes, we will celebrate our victories. But now is the time to start looking ahead to next year as a good offense takes planning and preparation. In terms of defense, it seems you are always playing catch up.

So what can we do today? Continue the dialog with your legislators by:

  1. Thanking them for their work this session.
  2. Helping strategize how to complete unfinished work next year.
  3. Discussing what opportunities we would like to see addressed in the future.
  4. Listening to their insights.

Remember legislators, agency workers and all government employees are public officials, and part of their job is to listen to the public’s requests. Agriculture has a great message to tell, and we are key in moving this country ahead. 

One challenge of being a large group is putting forth a collaborative effort. It is exciting that MSGA has established the framework to speak with one voice. We are a diverse group, and we want everyone to have a voice. Yet in the grand scale of influencers, we are the minority so it is important to keep our message clear and concise.

Leveraging our county organizations to be more a part of that one voice will accelerate further successes. MSGA is looking for ideas on how to widen our voice and get more involved. With that, we turn to you.

Seeing opportunities, having a plan and speaking with one voice is what farmers stand for. It is great that we displayed this on the political front. Thanks to all that made it happen, and let’s continue to grow our influence.