Ag experience hard to find in government

As more and more people move into urban areas and voting districts are redrawn, there become less rural districts to elect people that have any connection to agriculture. That results in governmental bodies of policy makers with a lack of even a basic understanding of agriculture, and that in turn can result in policies and regulations that can damage the Ag industry. Jeff Case is the Senior Director of Government Affairs for CropLife America, the national trade association that represents the agricultural chemical and agribusiness industry.

“We feel like there’s been a lot of people, especially in Washington D.C., that do not really understand agricultural policy, and many of those people are the ones that make some of those decisions. And so our efforts have been to try and better inform them.”

Case says that sometimes you get a listening ear, and sometimes you don’t.

“There are very, very few people in the U.S. Congress that actually have any kind of roots going back to agriculture, that own a ranch or have farmed, and it’s getting to be fewer and fewer. I actually work in state affairs a lot with my job at CropLife America, and a lot of the states find it difficult to find one person who has any direct relationship to agriculture to serve on an agriculture committee.”

Case is hoping for better listeners in the new administration in Washington.

“The challenge that we’ve had, to be honest with you, in the last administration, was that there weren’t a lot of people there that were interested in our perspective on some of the policy decisions that were being made.”

Case says that he is cautiously optimistic.

“Now we’re seeing a little bit of a turnaround now with some of the people that have been appointed at USDA. The Secretary at the USDA is actually somebody who’s been involved in agriculture, a veterinarian that has a lot of experience in governing, so I think that that's a very positive step forward.”