Getting the word out

Ever have a moment when you are ridiculously proud of a kid (or group of kids) that aren’t your own? Yeah, me too.

One of those moments happened last week when I saw this video. I wrote about their family here when my son stayed with them for a livestock judging camp. They are good people. The whole family. Those same kids, their friends, teachers, family and community are a part of this video. I’m writing about them in my column this week. It’s become a huge deal.

So big that while I was on the phone with the teachers who spear-headed this project, 20/20 called. Yes, THAT 20/20. And then ABC. And this was just after two segments appeared on the morning programs of NBC and CBS. It’s getting crazy.

The best part? The teachers told me as they finished their video they joked about it becoming as big as the Peterson brothers hit, “Farming and I Grow It.” “We looked at each other, laughed and hit ‘upload,’” one of them said. And now they are at a quarter-million hits.

The thing that makes me so proud? Is this group of rural kids and teachers are a class act. They speak with passion and conviction. They are good communicators. They didn’t just complain about something they thought was wrong. They stood up and did something about it.

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Ag politics junkies unite

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So if you care nothing about politics, you should probably just go ahead and quit reading right now. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just that you’ll get bored and that’s not my goal here at The Country Chick.

If, however, you get the least bit fired up over what happens in Washington, then this post is for you. Especially if you are also are an aggie. The last few days have been sensation overload for ag policy nuts. The Senate is debating the farm bill. High Plains Journal’s farm policy editor Larry Dreiling may need a new eyeglass prescription after the last couple of days. He’s been glued to C-SPAN watching the farm bill debate unfold on the Senate floor. Amendments are flying. Votes are happening. These are the days that farm policy gurus live for.

Now, I’ll just come right out and say studying farm policy doesn’t make my heart flutter. But when you see it first-hand? That’s a whole new ballgame. You may remember that I was fortunate enough to see my very own Senator Pat Roberts, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow introduce the bill to the Senate floor. I was there – sitting in the gallery, looking down, watching arguably the most important piece of legislation for the agriculture industry for the next several years be introduced. It was pretty cool. And I’m just enough of an ag policy junkie to get a pretty big kick out of it. I wrote about it again for my High Plains Journal column, because as I realized – more than watching the process, it’s important to be a part of the process.

In the halls of Congress

Here I am in Dodge City, Kan. I sit at my desk, putting together words into a column about agriculture issues. But exactly one week ago I was about 1,400 miles to the east in a city where they, too, were discussing agriculture issues–Washington, D.C.

I was in Washington as a part of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference. This same morning a week ago, nearly 60 cattlemen from all across the country were fanning out making congressional visits to their various elected officials. There were boots and cowboy hats in nearly every hall of the House and Senate office buildings.

Two fellow Kansans and I had appointments with our Senators and Representative. Our first appointment was with Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). As luck would have it, Sen. Roberts had something very important to do just a few minutes after he shook our hands: He and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the farm bill to the Senate floor. And we were there, literally, sitting in the gallery. Roberts’ staff member asked us if we would like to watch. Watch the major farm policy legislation for the next several years introduced into the Senate? Sign me up.

As we sat there, the importance of those “boots on the Hill” hit me.  <more>