On March 19th and 20th, NSDA Board members, Bill Thiele, Roger Sprakel and Brooke Engelman, joined with 8 farmers representing the state dairy trade associations from Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, to visit Washington, D.C.  They were able to visit 11 legislative offices from the four states, including Nebraska’s Congressman Adrian Smith and Senator Deb Fischer.  The group discussed several subjects with the elected officials, uniting to ask for more trade opportunities, better labor availability, and also thank them for the recent and potential changes to the Margin Protection Program and Livestock Gross Margin programs.

Congressman Smith, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee has been involved in several of the NAFTA discussions, and is very aware of the importance dairy places on continuing the relationship with Mexico, as our largest trading partner, as well as the challenges that Canada’s Class 7 program is creating.

Senator Fischer has been with the trade issues, and is a leader, working on the CERCLA reporting issue for animal agriculture, as well as the transportation issue related to ELD monitoring for the trucking industry. We stressed the need to address the 150 mile radius ruling, especially since we in Nebraska transport approximately 2/3 of all our milk produced into other states for processing.

Besides the meeting with Smith and Fischer, the group had an opportunity to meet with notable names like Chuck Grassley and Colin Peterson and John Thune, while carrying the same message to all.

The group also had meetings with the National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council and a representative from the Foreign Ag Service.

This was a great opportunity to combine efforts and carry a strong message for the dairy industry in the upper Midwest.