Recently I had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for the American Farm Bureau Advocacy Fly-In. It was a great event, and it was my first time in D.C. in a couple of years. I admit I really like going to our nation’s capital. Aside from a lot of great sites to see and food to eat, I enjoy watching our government in action. I know you could make a lot of jokes here, but I truly am fascinated by the everyday happenings in D.C.

If you have never been there, you really should go. I believe every U.S. citizen should make the trip at least once in their lifetime. If for no other reason than to see the monuments, museums and other sites. I also think it is good for everyone to visit their elected officials in their offices. I really think after one visit your opinions and ideas about what goes on will change.

The great thing about being a Kansas Farm Bureau member is all of us have the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. on a KFB sponsored trip. In the odd years there is a chance to visit in small groups like the fly-in or the USDA trip in August. In the even years we take a larger group trip and next year is no exception. I know February is a long way away, but if you have livestock getting away in February is no easy task. That is why I am putting it on your radar now.

The 2024 trip will give you a taste of what goes on in D.C. and how the Farm Bureau works for farmers and ranchers. Participants will be able to hear briefings from AFBF, KFB and others about current issues and topics, usually there is a visit to an embassy and of course go on Hill visits to speak with our senators and representatives. You will also be able to sign up for optional tours and have some time to go sightseeing.

I really think the Hill visits are the most important part of the trip. First, it allows you to see where your representative or senators work, meet their staff and hear directly from them. It also demonstrates just how powerful the American Farm Bureau and Kansas Farm Bureau are.

Each office will eagerly greet us when we make our visit, and they will sit down and talk about issues. Each one of the elected officials and their staff genuinely listen and welcome our opinions. I am always heartened by the fact that the voice of the voters is valued so much by our elected officials. They see lobbyists all the time and when a taxpaying citizen comes in, they are far more receptive and interested in what we have to say.

Still don’t believe me? Well, then I guess you need to make your plans to attend in February and see it with your own two eyes. Just contact your county coordinator and tell them you are interested in making the trip. Please, keep in mind that participation is limited so the earlier you contact them the better. I know making the trip is not easy, but I also promise it is worth it.