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Building relationships with lawmakers is crucial to lobbying success

—By Kathleen M. Dutro
Public Relations Team

Farm Bureau ELECT, IFB’s political action committee, endorsed a total of 76 candidates in Statehouse and congressional races, and 71 of the endorsed candidates won.

“This is great for our organization and helps open the door for us to build a good relationship with these decision makers,” said IFB President Don Villwock.

“Public officials understand that you know more about your business than they do, and they want to hear from you,” said Bob Kraft, IFB state government relations director. “But if you need to ask for something, you can be much more effective if you have already developed a positive relationship with the person you are asking.”

The first step in this process is to get involved and begin to build relationships with policymakers at all levels of government. The public policy team advised Farm Bureau members to make an effort in the next several weeks to congratulate to newly elected or re-elected public officials and to indicate your appreciation for their willingness to serve in what is often a thankless job.

It is also appropriate to thank those that ran and lost and those whose term will end in December, noted Megan Ritter, IFB legislative projects and national government relations coordinator.

At the state level the General Assembly will have its organization day on Nov. 20 to get things started for the upcoming Legislative Session. Your early contact with all elected officials at the local, state, and national levels will play an extremely important key role in that success.

Farm Bureau’s public policy team would like county Farm Bureaus (specifically state legislative committees) to host a meeting with their state legislative delegation before the legislative session begins in early January. County Farm Bureaus are encouraged to hold their pre-legislative meetings in conjunction with neighboring county Farm Bureaus whenever possible. 

“Farm Bureau will have a lot on the agenda at the state and federal levels that is important to our members and to the future of agriculture,” Villwock said. “Your early contact with all elected officials at the local, state, and national levels will play an extremely important key role in that success.”

In addition to The Hoosier Farmer, another way to keep track of legislative and regulatory issues is through The Public Policy Dispatch, an electronic newsletter produced weekly while the General Assembly is in session and as needed throughout the rest of the year. The Dispatch is posted and archived on Indiana Farm Bureau’s website, www.infarmbureau.org, and it will also be posted on a new Indiana Farm Bureau public policy website that will be unveiled later this year.

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