Engage legislators at dairy breakfasts
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Posted by: Aaron Stauffacher, assoc. dir. government affairs
It seems like winter just ended. Regardless, summer is right around the corner, which means June Dairy Month is almost here and county dairy breakfasts will be happening all over the state.
Not only do these events provide us with a dairy-rich breakfast, they are an opportunity to bring us together with those who are unfamiliar with dairy farming and agriculture. Attendees could be neighbors, community leaders, business owners, customers purchasing our products or lawmakers crafting the policies and regulations farmers must follow.
Candidates seeking public office often participate in these events to reach thousands of constituents in a single morning. The candidates come out to serve food, clean tables, pour coffee and interact with attendees. This is a great opportunity to engage potential future elected officials and make sure they understand what’s important to the dairy community.
So, don’t be shy. Introduce yourself, give a little background on your farm and mention that you are a member of DBA; they’ll know that you are someone in tune to the issues in Madison.
We shouldn’t assume that everyone knows our dairy community is a key economic driver for the state’s economy, so be sure to share this point. We also cannot take for granted that every candidate is informed on dairy-related issues. Take time to explain the importance of having good regulatory policy in our state, such as putting the agriculture-centric agency in charge of regulating our farms. It could be as simple as ensuring they understand that policy should be grounded in sound science. Tell these officials what you are thinking, feeling and experiencing on the farm. They need to hear it from you.
As you finish your conversation with a candidate, invite him or her out to your farm. It is crucial to not only talk to them about what’s important to your farm, but to show them first-hand why they should fight for your issues. Before parting ways, make sure to exchange contact information.
As we monitor candidates’ positions on issues, we always appreciate your insight. DBA uses this information to endorse candidates, follow up with them and work with them during the legislative session. Please let us know about the interactions you have and any scheduled tours or meetings with candidates. DBA can be a resource for you in hosting tours or answering questions you receive.
As you connect through these crucial conversations throughout June, try not to forget the most important part — enjoy your local dairy breakfast!
Four steps to engaging with candidates:
1) Introduce yourself, your farm
2) Share importance of dairy to Wisconsin’s economy
3) Explain importance of good regulatory policy, give specific examples
4) Thank them, offer farm tour, exchange contact information