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Farmers: Lawmakers want to hear from us

Thursday, October 31, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Maria Woldt
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By Amy Penterman, vice president

Hello DBA members! I’m Amy Penterman, and I serve as vice president for DBA. My husband, Sander, and I milk 850 cows on our farm in Thorp in Clark County. For the past 22 years, I’ve also worked out of my home as a crop insurance agent. It hasn’t been easy the past few years to say it mildly. We have faced many challenges.

The confidence that I have in DBA to look out for us farmers is a source of comfort. The general population and lawmakers alike don’t understand our lifestyle and the issues that come along with it. DBA is advocating for us and telling our story, from regulation, to labeling, to tax laws. The dedication from staff to fight for farmers gives me hope and reassurance someone has our best interests in mind every single day! 

I’ve had the opportunity to testify at public hearings several times over the past few months. Through this experience, I see how much our lawmakers rely on us, the farmers, to let them know what is happening at our farms. They need to hear from us, they WANT to hear from us. 

During public testimony, lawmakers ask questions and get an understanding of the many different issues farmers experience across the state. DBA has members from dairies of all sizes and management philosophies that bring a unique perspective to our organization and to our lawmakers. 

My biggest misconception was lawmakers only hear what they want to hear; This is  FALSE. They’re knowledge (or lack thereof), is based on who talks to them. This is why it’s so important to be there educating them. From the work we do daily, to the struggles we face within our communities, and they want to hear the successes we have too. Farmers are the backbone of our state. 
During stressful, tough times, it’s easy to just retreat and block out the world, but this is the time to stand up and let our voices be heard. 

Although it can be intimidating, the staff at DBA is there to help you along the way. It is important to speak up, or the wrong people will be speaking for us. Farming is a way of life, there is so much pride in doing what we do. Through good and bad times, we keep our chins up and do what we do best.  

Sincerely,  Amy 

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