Taking agriculture's stories to Washington D.C.
If you’ve read my column long enough, you already know I talk constantly about the need to share our agricultural stories with the people we aim to serve.Like it or not, the general public gets to vote on ballot initiatives that can make or break those of us trying to steward the land, tend to the livestock and provide the essentials of life for consumers.Emotionalism sensationalism and propaganda are all tools used by animal rights activists, environmental extremists, politicians, the media and celebrities to bash agriculture, sway public opinion and change the course direction of our nation.Unfortunately, it’s all a recipe for starvation. Every attack made against farmers and ranchers (of which there are many) puts out food security at risk. In turn, a nation that cannot feed itself is not truly free.So, it is with great concern I watch the trends in this country. We place more demands on Ameri-ca’s food producers, often crippling them financially. We watch as fewer young people enter into production agriculture. We see the monopolization of our food system which prohibits producers from capturing the true market value of our products.We see our land being sold to the Chinese and our major packing plants owned and run by foreign entities.We saw the vulnerabilities of our just in time food delivery system fall apart during the pandemic. Trucks weren’t moving as efficiently. Ships weren’t being unloaded. Plastics for packaging were in short supply. Dairy farmers were dumping their milk. Pork producers were forced to euthanize their hogs and who can forget the panic buying of toilet paper as consumers quickly realized their favorite products and brands weren’t as readily available as they had grown accustomed to.The list of concerns for the future of agriculture is long and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. However, it is with great anticipation that I announce my installment on the National Agriculture Campaign Advisory Council (NACAC). Spearheaded by U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania, who also serves as the chairman of the Committee of Agriculture, the NACAC brings together a diverse group of agriculturalists from across the country who represent a wide range of commodities."I am very excited to welcome Amanda Radke to my NACAC," said Congressman Thompson. "Ms. Radke is a South Dakota beef cattle rancher and an agricultural educator, writer, author and speaker. I am proud to have her support.”"I am honored to serve on Chairman Thompson's NACAC to provide support as he leads the Agricultural Committee and works on the new Farm Bill," said Radke. "I am anxious to offer insights and ideas for working solutions on the real issues facing America's farmers and ranchers and our nation's food security. I'm looking forward to working with GT and my fellow producers in this role."Stepping to the political arena has its fair share of challenges, but I’m excited to have a seat at the table to share my concerns, offer up meaningful changes and hold our nation’s elected officials accountable for the actions they take in Washington, D.C.Friends, we can all make a difference in our own unique ways and in our sphere of influence and leadership. Don’t sit back while activists and pundits tell your story. Go on the offense and celebrate what you do well in agriculture. Do it often. Repeat it to whoever will listen and don’t stop.Because if we don’t tell our story, someone else will. So, let’s get out there and get to work!Please, reach out to me at any time at email@example.com about concerns you have about the future of American agriculture. I want to help share your stories in Washington, D.C. and I appreciate all of the help!Amanda Radke is a South Dakota rancher, a writer, and motivational speaker, specializing in the beef industry, social media and consumer trends. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.