From the Field: Making Congressional Connections

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.

Congressman Robert Hurt met with constituents in the 5th district this week. He has a large area to cover as the 5th congressional district stretches from the North Carolina and Virginia state line to Warrenton and is almost the size of Massachusetts. Scott Leake, director of outreach and coalitions from the Charlottesville district office, also attended and has attended numerous Farm Bureau meetings in the past.
The meetings with farmers were in Charlottesville and Fork Union. On Tuesday afternoon, Congressman Hurt met with several farmers and members of the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee in Charlottesville. The second meeting was in Fork Union at the Fluvanna County Farm Bureau office at 7:30am on Wednesday. It was attended by several Farm Bureau producer members. 

At both meetings, Congressman Hurt provided an update on happenings at the federal level and the constant battle to reign in government agencies from overreaching their authority. He also expressed strong concern about the annual deficits and the national debt which is now over $17 trillion and noted that the debt is a national security issue.
The people that attended were offered an opportunity to make comments and ask questions. The common theme of questions and comments from both meetings was about the overreach of federal government agencies and the burden of those agencies, not just on agriculture and forestry, but everyone.
EPA was mentioned because of their recent proposed rule to deem all waters, not just navigable, under their jurisdiction. Congressman Hurt acknowledged that EPA has far exceeded its authority and operates in an intimidating fashion. He added that this expansion of power by governmental agencies has been allowed to happen over the past 50 years under Democrat and Republican presidents and Congresses, but it needs to get back to where the Congress elected by the people dictate to the agencies not the agencies writing their own laws.
On a positive note, Congressman Hurt and Scott Leake were very proud of the FFA chapters in the district. Nelson County has had national winning teams at competitions for several years. Fluvanna implemented a horticulture class in 2013, built a greenhouse and established an FFA chapter. Both of these FFAs have benefited from significant support from the county Farm Bureaus.
The roundtable meetings were beneficial to both farmers and Congressman Hurt. If there is ever an opportunity for you to meet with your congressman or senator in your area, try to go. Their schedules are very busy and you don’t have to travel to Washington D.C. All of these legislators have district offices and many of those people, like Scott Leake, are in tune with what is going on in the counties within the district and are accessible. So if you can’t meet or speak with your legislator directly, the district offices are a great option.
Until next time,

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