Share Your Story-what’s the worst that can happen?

I’m currently flying in a plane headed west out of Washington DC. I never thought this trip would happen, mostly because I’m terrified to fly. I shocked myself and I’m currently writing this post while getting the birds eye view of our country.

I’ve been in DC this week, attending the National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress. I am part of the Missouri Corn Association Corn Roots Leadership Academy. A group that focuses on creating leaders for our industry, to advocate for our issues as farmers.

Yesterday we went to Capitol Hill to meet with House of Representatives and Senators staff. I was so nervous about this trip. EXTREMELY nervous. I hate talking topics I’m not 100 percent knowledgeable on. It was WAY out of my comfort zone but I did it and quite frankly surprised the heck out of myself.

We’re all so unique and all have a different story to tell. Every farming operation and their practices used are different.

As corn producers our main concerns we took to Capitol Hill yesterday were the trade/tariff wars, ethanol, RFS, NAFTA, etc.

No one knows EVERYTHING about these topics. I myself think I only know 10 percent of what I need to. However, I am 100 percent sure on how these topics effect my farm.

We took the approach that as beginning farmers who are already struggling to keep the lights on, that all the decisions they make in this city greatly impact us– which they do.

I was floored when the staff we talked to at these offices of states who don’t grow corn were interested in our story. Some of them had never met a corn farmer. Some didn’t know the difference between field corn and sweet corn. Some didn’t have ethanol plants in their states… BUT they still listened.

The thing I took away from this trip is we all have our stories. Choosing to share these stories is what makes a difference. We have a great staff at the Missouri Corn Growers Association and on the National level too, but making that personal and sometimes emotional connection really brings it home.

Did our conversations sway a vote or make them take our side? Not necessarily. However, we are putting a face to the American farmer. We are giving them a perspective on the issues we face and young farmers and finding common ground and building relationships. We are fighting for an industry worth fighting for.

If we don’t share our story those who know nothing about our industry will.

I wasn’t great at it. I’m better at sharing my story through writing but yesterday really inspired me to encourage others to share their story.

If you are a young Missouri farmer interested in growing as a leader and sharing your story, contact the Missouri Corn Growers about the #CornRoots program. They are an amazing hard working group fighting for farmers everyday.

Sharing your story and voicing your concerns takes it to the next level.

It’s better to try and fail then not try and regret. I chose to share because of the two little ones I’m eagerly awaiting to see when I get off this plane. So write a Facebook post, send a tweet or call a local official or better yet one on the state and national level.

The American farmer is resilient, persistent and always willing to do what needs to be done to get the job done. So stand up, speak out because that what’s going to keep the lights on.

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