Farm Bureau Minute

Farm Bureau Minute

by Mike White, President, New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau

Growing Our Own Lawmakers

See the graphic below this column?  This is a tell-tell sign that we are losing the battle on the legislative front.  The two votes highlighted here were extremely important for New Mexico’s food producers. Repealing the Death Tax would ensure that farms and ranches, often in families for generations, were not sold in order to pay taxes due when a land-owner dies.

The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act was the U.S. House’s response to the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water’s of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. WOTUS would have significant negative ramifications since all waters, permanent or not, become subject to  federal jurisdiction.

These votes highlight the need for more politicians with an agricultural background. We need to grow our own lawmakers.

I know you’re overworked and anxious about getting everything done. But you know what they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person. So I’m asking you – would you please consider becoming politically involved? People who understand how to grow food should be the ones making the rules that apply to food production.

We have tools we can offer to prepare you to run. If you’re a woman we highly recommend that you participate in American Farm Bureau Federation’s Boot Camp It’s a communications seminar that covers everything from writing editorials, to giving press interviews, to testifying before congress. Past participants have raved about the value of the experience and how it has prepared them for working with the media.

If you are under 35, our Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee offers many opportunities for leadership development from attending their national conference to participation in the AgriFutures Conference which is held in New Mexico every other year.

AFBF used to host candidate schools that detailed the basics of successful campaigns. Their success rate over 27 years was 77 percent, that’s quite a few farmers and ranchers that went on to represent agriculture on the local, state and national level. While these are not offered through AFBF anymore, NMF&LB would host such a school if enough people expressed an interest.

The purpose of the school would be to help NMF&LB members execute a successful political campaign and would be open to first-time candidates or veteran office holders. From city council to county commissioner, New Mexico House to U.S. Senate, all candidates would be welcome.

Topics would include successfully announcing your candidacy, selecting a campaign theme and identifying key issues, as well as using demographics to target voters, volunteer recruitment, fund raising, and working with the media.

Cost would be minimal and the seminar would last for two days. Experts from AFBF’s policy department would present sessions, as well as marketing professionals with a history of successful campaigns.

If we expect vital votes such as the ones below to go our way, we must populate our law-making bodies with people who are like us. I leave you with the words of Ronald Reagan, “The one thing our Founding Fathers could not foresee…was a nation governed by professional politicians who had an interest in getting re-elected. They probably envisioned a fellow serving a couple of hitches and then eagerly looking forward to getting back to the farm.”