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In the News: Staff Columns

Let your voice be heard

Tuesday, July 31, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joanna Guza, digital communications manager
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By Mike North, board president

The ongoing rhetoric of trade and tariffs in recent months has had significant and potentially long-lasting impacts on our markets.

The damage that has been done to farm revenues is significant. Farm groups across the nation have been actively working to bend the ear of anyone in Washington who will listen. But this is not the only fight that agriculture has on its hands. Now, more than ever, farmers need to be heard.

For a very long time the public has taken the opportunity to tell our story. They have built that story on information that is often incomplete or completely inaccurate. Facts have been twisted to fit the agenda of the person telling the story. Social media has run rampant with fake news and misrepresentations of reality. Even our neighbors have been tainted with efforts by outside influences set on undermining the existence of farming as we know it.

It takes all hands on deck to fight battles of this proportion. DBA stands ready. We have armed ourselves with the expertise to manage efforts on multiple fronts. This includes Washington. Several years ago, DBA worked to birth a new organization — now Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. It was built on the principle of representation — to give dairy farmers a voice in federal policy even as the cooperative worked to provide verification services for its patrons.

DBA enjoys the relationship we share with our sister organization. Together, we share the same desire to serve the dairy community. We fight the battles that need fighting while advancing the banner of a strong dairy community. But the fight is much bigger than work being done by the shared staff of these two organizations and their boards of directors. If there is any lesson that we have learned in our time lobbying in Madison and D.C., it is that representatives want to see and hear actual farmers.

They often get the opportunity to talk with staff and board members but seldom get farmers coming through the doors. We remind them that a dairy is a very busy place leaving little time for our members to be present in the political arena. But is that still true? Can we continue to successfully manage the farm without confronting the issues that are eager to threaten it?

We must come together. Each of us must get involved in whatever way we can to attend to the issues in our community, our state and our nation. DBA and Edge have made great strides, but we must do more. We need your help. To learn how you can get involved, reach out to Executive Director Tim Trotter at ttrotter@widba.com.

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