Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

2019 Congressional Family Farmers Fly-In

 

October 3, 2019

Courtesy photo

Above: Members of the National Farmers Union gather on the steps in Washington D. C. to meet with representatives and congress on farming issues. Second from right bottom, Shalane Hottel, of Pine Bluffs and second from left back row William Daugh

380 Family Farmers 'Fly-In' to Washington to Advocate Stronger Food and Agricultural Policy

WASHINGTON – After yet another year of depressed commodity prices, uncertainty in export and biofuels markets, rapid consolidation in the food and agriculture sectors, and extreme and unseasonal weather events, nearly 400 of National Farmers Union's (NFU) family farmer and rancher members will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to meet face-to-face with administration officials and members of Congress.

"In early September, most farmers are busy harvesting, planting winter crops, and attending to livestock," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "The fact that nearly 400 are here this week to advocate better food and agricultural policy speaks volumes to how exceptionally challenging things are right now in farm country."

"For several years, farm commodity prices have been below the cost of production, which means that most farmers are selling at a loss and are rapidly losing equity. At the same time, a recent wave of agribusiness megamergers has pushed up input costs. Many producers have been forced to take out more loans just to keep their doors open, causing farm debt to balloon to record levels," Johnson continued. "All of this has been compounded by a never-ending global trade war and the ongoing subversion of the Renewable Fuel Standard, both of which have wiped out critical markets for farmers and ranchers. If that weren't enough, climate change has thrown weather patterns out of whack, making it that much more difficult to grow crops and raise livestock."

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By Penny Merryfield

Post Editor

[email protected]

Small town farmers, William "Bill" Daugherty and Shalane Hottell applied to the Rocky Mountain Union and National Farmers Union to be fellowship members to represent Eastern Wyoming farmers in the 2019 Congressional Fly-In.

Once accepted, they made their plans and headed off to Washington D.C. on September 7. The Congressional Fly-In took place September 8th through the 11th.

"This event was an eye opening experience for me," stated Daugherty, "and I learned that I do have a voice, and we can speak up and make our senate and congressmen aware of farming situations for the small farms."

Hottell explained the situation on their small farm. "We couldn't harvest on time due to the amount of moisture and how wet everything was. Because of this, we were late in getting our millet planted." She admitted it set them back, and these are the types of problems farmers face every season.

Daugherty and Hottell sat down in one on one conversations with Senator John Barrasso, Senator Mike Enzi and Congresswoman Liz Cheney to discuss some of the many issues small farmers face on a daily basis.

Courtesy photo

Above center is Congressionwoman Liz Cheney with Shalane Hottell on the left and William Daugherty on the right of her.:

"It was great to discuss these issues with everyone. There was intense conversation and some genuinely down to earth." Daugherty said. Hottell added, "Our conversation with Senator John Barrasso was wonderful...he listened and talked with us as if we were all on the same side and level." She added that going they were able to go over the issues that affected them here and learned about the affects of water shortage in other areas that would impact farms and production."

"This was truly a learning experience and we are learning more on a daily basis.

After being in Washington D.C., Daughtery and Hottell took a tour with the Rocky Mountain Union to San Luis Valley - Monte Vista, Colorado and learned about water problems, different ways of farming and different crops. This tour took them almost to the New Mexico border where they learned about the problem with water and the Rio Grande.

"Learning about the hardships, and the different programs that are out there will make a difference." Hottell said.

 

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