The election is less than two weeks away, and as we’re all aware, campaign activity is in full force. This time of year, more than ever, is a key opportunity for you to have your elected officials’ ear, particularly as your senators and members of Congress are likely holding town halls and other public events across your state and congressional district. The presidential candidates are also canvassing the country. Many of you are planting your winter wheat crop or harvesting other crops, but it’s critically important that you take time to attend events featuring your elected officials. There are many key issues that must be addressed before the end of the year, including the urgent need for action on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and action on appropriations bills to keep the government operating. And most importantly, your elected officials need to understand just how dire the economic conditions are in agriculture, particularly for wheat farmers. Low commodity prices don’t appear to be likely to improve any time soon, and our members of Congress and senators need to understand this context as development of the next farm bill gets underway. It’s also important for you to be educated about the positions of our presidential candidates, as they’ll either be signing or vetoing the next farm bill.
Our elected officials also need to understand the importance of FSA loan programs that help producers through these tough times; those programs have been oversubscribed and there could be an opportunity through the upcoming appropriations process to allocate additional resources. And finally, TPP has great potential to expand market opportunities for U.S. wheat farmers; the longer Congress waits to act the less likely we’ll be able to fully realize its benefits.