Of All the Types of Communication, Face-to-Face Is Still the Best
By Joe Parker Jr., TSCRA president
We communicate a lot these days by phone, email, text messages and social media, but when you are dealing with issues that can dramatically impact your livelihood, nothing is better than looking someone in the eyes to get the information you need and, maybe more importantly, communicate your position.
That’s why this past April, a group of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., to sit down with some of our federal policymakers to discuss issues of great importance to the cattle industry.
For 3 days we met with numerous leaders in the U.S. Congress. These members of Congress were not only from Texas, but also from other states like Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan and Georgia.
We are fortunate to have many Texans in leadership positions in Washington, and those leaders still need to hear from the cattle industry so they are kept up to date on our latest concerns and ongoing issues.
It is also important that congressional leaders from other states hear our concerns, because issues in agriculture can greatly vary by region. We must help policy makers understand these differences and see the bigger picture.
One of the most important issues we discussed in Washington was the proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that would have prohibited youth from working on agricultural operations that are not owned and operated by their parents.
The change in thinking on this issue in Washington was a great example of how our presence in Washington can be effective.
While the DOL had agreed to revisit some the provisions of their initial proposal, they had given no certainty that this rule will not become final.
While in Washington, we encouraged members of Congress to sign on to legislation that would ban the DOL from implementing this proposed rule. While many of the members of Congress we met with were familiar with the issue, we were able to give specific examples of how this would affect the cattle industry.
Because of the efforts of TSCRA and many other agricultural groups, just a week after our trip, the DOL withdrew their proposed rule in its entirety and in their written statement cited the thousands of comments they had received. The DOL indicates this issue will not be brought up again.
Your voice as a cattle raiser was heard in Washington and this was a big victory.
This recent trip was very successful and important for TSCRA members and the cattle industry. It could even be said that trips like these are necessary. We must keep the momentum going on other important issues, such as the death tax and the Farm Bill.
The leaders that we met with listened to us and cared about what we had to say. During the heat of an issue is not the time to make sure we have elected the right people to represent us — the time for that is before an issue heats up. That is why elections are so important and why TSCRA and TSCRA PAC work so hard in this area. Electing the right people to represent us and being a strong advocate go hand in hand.
Take a minute to think about what the results would be if TSCRA were not representing your interests in Austin and Washington.
We look forward to seeing you at the TSCRA summer meeting this month in Fredericksburg. For more information go to tscra.org and click on the Summer Meeting button in the right column.
"Back Page — Of All the Types of Communication, Face-to-Face Is Still the Best" is from the June 2012 issue of The Cattleman