Making Your Voice Heard: The opportunity for U.S. ag to influence its future

A young farmer explains why other young farmers should not be afraid to get involved.

Election 2022 is an important time for U.S. agriculture and its many stakeholders to cast their votes.

It is more important than ever for producers to make their voices heard, which is the message from John Iverson, a past Young Farmer and Rancher Chair and Oregon farmer.

“I think if you look at Europe and what’s happening with their fuel insecurity, imagine if that was food insecurity and food prices rising, and you’re relying on other countries for food. Even though we’re not there within the United States, it could happen. Seems like agriculture is always under attack, so, it’s very important to get people in office that understand agriculture and support agriculture here, domestically. With the Farm Bill coming up, it’s really important that we helped shape that Farm Bill to make it work for farmers,” said Iverson.

He says young people should not be afraid to get involved in the political process because it is a lot like farming: farmers plant seeds hoping they will bear fruit in the future.

“The political process is no different. The seeds you plant today will bear fruit in the future, and I’d say for young people, it’s very important because our timeline of how long we’re going to be in this industry and trying to support ourselves with our farmers is a long time, and so we want to make sure that the policies we set today will positively impact us down the road. If we have negative things going on right now, it just makes it more difficult down the road, so little changes right now can make big differences for us in the future. So, I think it’s vitally important for young farmers to be engaged, know how the political process works, and know their representatives. That way, when there is an issue, they can go in the office, and they already have that relationship built.”

Iverson reminds everyone it is important to do research before stepping into the voting booth.

“Our state has a voter pamphlet, I’m guessing most states do. That’s always a good spot to start and read and know what the candidates stand for. Two other really good resources is your state Farm Bureau - a lot of times we’ll have resources on candidates they endorse and support and why.”

He says another good resource for farmers is the “I Farm, I Vote” page on American Farm Bureau’s website. From there, you can read up on the latest issues and policies facing American farmers.