I’m a fourth-generation farmer growing soybeans and corn in Montgomery County. I work with my father, who is getting ready to transition business responsibilities to me, and my 90-year-old grandfather still helps, too.
It’s important for farmers to advocate because this is our story to tell, and we need to get it out there. I hear all the time that a farmer “should” do this or “should” do that because it’s the “right” thing. It’s up to us to educate consumers and legislators and explain why we use certain practices. I believe we’re all fighting for the same things, and by talking about the issues, we can get on the same page.
When you speak, your voice is heard
About four years ago, I visited Washington, D.C., with the Illinois Farm Bureau to talk about the Farm Bill. I was surprised that our representatives met with us themselves – not their aides. They really wanted to hear from us, and it was nice to sit down with them, look them in the eye and tell them how issues affect us. They wanted to understand our viewpoint, and that meant a lot. It really opened my eyes to just how important it is to communicate with our legislators.
Believe it or not, when you speak, your voice is heard. That’s why we have to tell our story. In the state of Illinois, with large urban areas like Chicago, many legislators don’t understand how farmers will be impacted by different decisions. So, when it comes to issues like water regulations, GMOs and the Farm Bill, we have to help our legislators see the whole picture.
Sharing your story is simple
We share the same common goals as consumers and legislators: we all want safe, high-quality food for all and practices that benefit the environment. It’s not an “us versus them” situation, so if we get our story out there, legislators can hear that from us.
Using the Voice for Soy legislative action network makes it easy. The website is clear and shows you what you need to do to contact your legislators. The whole process is simple start to finish – you can get involved and quickly take action on the issues that matter.
We all want to be successful, and that’s why we have to work together. It’s more important than ever for us to speak out and share our story.
Heath Houck is a former member of the checkoff-funded Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Soy Ambassadors Leadership Program. He is co-manager of a fourth-generation family corn and soybean farm. He also has worked as an agricultural educator and FFA advisor for four years and has been active in Farm Bureau.