Nine Minnesota soybean farmers were in Washington, D.C. this week visiting with legislators and talking about the big political issues affecting agriculture in Minnesota.
Each year, American Soybean Association (ASA) directors from Minnesota and several Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) board members participate in hill visits. This year is different from previous years because Minnesota farmers will be reaching out to other states’ representatives to build new relationships.
“Minnesota farmers are well represented by our national politicians but many of our issues require having influence outside of Minnesota,” said ASA director and Minnesota farmer Lawrence Sukalski. “Our farmers will be working to help other smaller states.”
Priority issues for this year’s hill visits include the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and GMO labeling. One Minnesota congressman farmers hope to work with is Sen. Al Franken, DFL-Minn. Franken has been a strong supporter of the RFS and biofuels, but the food industry in Minnesota needs his leadership for the passage of the GMO labeling bill. This bill would ensure a uniform GMO labeling standard while ultimately keeping food affordable for everyone.
Minnesota is represented by ASA directors and Minnesota farmers, George Goblish, Bill Gordon, Lawrence Sukalski, Joel Schreurs and Lance Peterson along with MSGA directors Dana Blume, Theresia Gillie, Chris Hill and Mike Skaug.
Goblish, Gordon, Hill, Schreurs and Skaug had a productive meeting with Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., where they discussed trade, biodiesel and other environmental issues concerning Minnesota. Walz currently serves on the Agriculture, Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committee in the House.
Congressman Tom Emmer, R-Minn., also met with growers and addressed trade, taxes and transportation. Emmer servers on the Financial Services committee in the House.