MMPA OYDCs visit Washington, D.C.

At the beginning of June, we had the privilege of going to Washington, DC, for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Young Cooperators (YCs) Legislative Fly-In. This was an exciting opportunity for us to connect with other YCs from around the country and also learn about NMPF’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

On Monday afternoon, we met with the NMPF YC Council to plan the Annual YC Convention this coming November.  We discussed various topics of interest to young farmers and speakers who could present on those topics. We followed that with an update on the work NMPF has been doing over the past few months.

Monday evening, all of the YCs participated in a Bus Tour of the National Monuments. We saw so many different sights and heard the history behind them all too. It was a great time of building relationships with others and getting to see our nation’s Capitol.

Tuesday morning we had a briefing on how to lobby on Capitol Hill. In the afternoon, we attending meetings with our senators’ staff and our representative.  We discussed issues of international trade, ag labor, school nutrition, and the Dairy Pride Act.  Everyone we met with was interested in hearing our perspective and willing to gather information on how to support our industry.

Our last meeting of the day was with Congressman Bill Huizenga. Congressman Huizenga is from our same town of Zeeland, and we have known him and his family for many years. We were excited that we were able to meet personally with him.  Through our meeting, he asked if we were flexible with our timing, and since we were, he offered for us to attend an event with him and then go with him to tour the Capitol building and attend the voting procedures in the House of Representatives that night. We had an amazing time learning more about what his daily life looks like as a Congressman and seeing the inner workings of The House of Representative that not too many people see. We enjoyed deep conversation regarding voting with values and keeping God’s ways as the rock of our character and identity.

On Wednesday we attended a Political Action Committee (PAC) Breakfast and heard from Congressman Jim Costa, who grew up on a dairy farm in California.  Then we sat in on the final session of the NMPF Board Meeting and heard additional information and discussion about ongoing topics in the industry.

Throughout the other days we were in DC, we visited several sights with other YCs.  We continue to celebrate the relationships we are able to build with dairy farmers in different locations, climates, and operations than we experience.  It was an exciting few days in DC and we are grateful for the opportunity to represent MMPA once again.

–Paul and Nancy Pyle, 2018 MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators

This article was originally published in the July/August issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »