NEW LONDON, WISC., June 29, 2016 – CHS Larsen Cooperative patrons, Erik and Heidi Salm, of Larsen, WI, recently met with nine different congressional representatives in the nation’s capital during the National Council of Farm Cooperatives (NCFC) annual Washington Conference which they attended as a part of the CHS New Leaders Program which works to bring educational and development opportunities to young farmers and ranchers who are the next generation of leadership. As participants, the two joined other farm couples, co-op managers and the CHS Inc. Board of Directors in this yearly visit with policymakers.
Ag cooperatives from all over the country invited young farm leaders to join the discussion in Washington on current issues in agriculture affecting both producers and their cooperatives. They came as one group because, in most cases, what is in one cooperative’s best interests is also in the best interest for others.
Some of the discussions revolved around tax extenders legislation that affects agriculture, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement to open up new export markets for commodities, and GMO labeling laws, affecting nationwide food supply. Erik and Heidi met directly with legislators to help represent the needs of all ag cooperatives. They also joined other young leaders for the PAL Program which helps farmers become strong advocates for agriculture. This educational program helps those in agriculture teach others the importance of agriculture and how to share its story.
“As the general population and our elected officials are now three generations removed from the farm, we learned the importance of a presence of agricultural in D.C. to advocate for agricultural and our livelihood,” said Erik, a Wisconsin grains farmer and CHS Larsen Cooperative member. “We need proper representation for agriculture and our cooperatives so policymakers can truly understand how a cooperative runs and the importance to local farmers. These cooperatives not only help the farmers but also have a large impact for average consumers.”
Erik and Heidi reported a great experience on Capitol Hill getting a firsthand look at how our governmental system affects the agricultural industry on a deep level and learning how to share their voice on the issues.
CHS Larsen Cooperative, a full-service ag retailer, is part of CHS Inc., a leading energy, grains and foods global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations.
Group Picture above: Jonathan Hagena, Eastern Farmers Cooperative, South Dakota; Erik and Heidi Salm, CHS Larsen Cooperative, Wisconsin; and Lisa and Doug Miller, CHS Prairie Lakes, Minnesota
Erik and Heidi Salm, Larsen WI