By Zippy Duvall
President, American Farm Bureau
Country roads are an important part of the route to public office. There’s no such thing as “fly-over country” in an election year–and some lawmakers have learned this the hard way. Farmers and ranchers are fully engaged in the political process. They know their businesses and families have too much at stake to take a back seat during any election.
While rural areas have gotten smaller over recent decades, lawmakers can’t ignore that America’s farmland and the people who live there are at the heart of what built this country, and what nourishes it still today. Our nation is run by people who show up and make their voices heard. Our friends in Kansas recently reminded us of this in the primary race for their first district. Many of the district’s farmers and ranchers felt that Congressman Huelskamp had forgotten his neighbors and the people who sent him to Washington, especially when it came to his lack of support for the farm bill that provides a safety net for farmers when prices plummet and ensures we can continue to feed ourselves. The Kansas Farm Bureau took a firm stance by calling out Huelskamp and endorsing his primary opponent Roger Marshall, to ensure agriculture in the first district would once again have a voice on Capitol Hill. Voters then stood up on primary day and called for a different approach to politics. Maintaining a healthy agriculture and strong food security requires a willingness to reach across party lines to find solutions that work. Huelskamp’s rural constituents are sending him home after his term ends this year. That’s what happens when a lawmaker becomes more beholden to groups in Washington than their own constituents.