Last week I joined up with 10 other Young Farmers & Ranchers from both Clackamas & Marion county to take some time to visit our state’s capital. Being a farmer that lives only a few minutes away from Oregon’s Capital I think that many farmers around this area have a unique opportunity to have their story be heard at the legislative level. And many times that can make a real difference of whether legislation is passed or not.
So we decided to help “break the ice” a bit, we were able to get young farmers to come on a more casual basis, no agenda in mind and just chat with legislators and lobbyists to find out what it takes to testify at the capital. We were hosted by Oregon Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Policy Katie Fast & Ian Tolleson, a lobbyist for Oregon Farm Bureau. Legislators who took the time to chat with us included, Sen. Fred Girod, Rep. Brian Clem, Rep. John Davis & Rep. Mike McLane. We also heard from lobbyist Greg Miller, Beth Patrino & Beth Riley; who all had great tips on how to prepare testimony. Words of advice included; always have written testimony, but be ready to speak for a shorter period of time, speak from the heart, tell your story, make sure you let them know what this means to you as a farmer! It was all great advice and I heard over and over again from all those who came that answering the call to come and speak in a hearing will be a lot less scary after visiting this time around.
I’ve said it many times before how important it is for farmers especially to tell their story, and it was great to hear that reiterated by not only lobbyists who are working for us everyday, but also from legislators who time and time again say how much it means that a farmer takes the time to come let them know what is important for agriculture in Oregon!