Young leaders from the Alabama Farmers Federation travelled to Washington, D.C. recently for a whirlwind of visits with key leaders, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and every member of Alabama’s Congressional Delegation.
The Agricultural Leaders For Alabama program is a two-year leadership and training initiative for 25-45 year-old farmers from across get the state. Participants take part in personal and professional development opportunities in the areas of agricultural policy, industry leadership and organizational involvement.
Wendy Yeager, a row crop farmer from Dallas County, said the Washington visit was worthwhile.
“Our days were long, no doubt, but the opportunity we had to spend with these Congressional leaders was priceless,” she said. “Being a row crop farmer from Orrville, Alabama, I felt pretty significant sitting in these congressional offices sharing my thoughts on legislation and bills up for discussion. After leaving the Hill that day, I had a renewed sense of importance – that our voice really DOES matter.”
“My most memorable moment was, hands down, getting to meet the new EPA director Scott Pruitt. I had the privilege of introducing myself, shaking his hand and getting a photo taken with him.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation is an affiliate of the American Farm Bureau. The Alabama group joined Farm Bureau colleagues from Ohio, Missouri and Iowa to hear from Pruitt, who talked about the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in agriculture today.
“I am committed to providing America’s farmers with the transparency and regulatory certainty they deserve from Washington,” Pruitt said. “EPA is working with our nation’s first environmentalists as partners to preserve and steward our natural resources while supporting local economies.”
The group also met with Ted McKinney, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, and Rebeckah Adcock, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture at the USDA to discuss trade and regulatory reform efforts. They also spent time at the Spanish embassy in preparation for their visit to Spain later this year.
Moving to Capitol Hill, the ALFA group met with every member of Alabama’s Congressional Delegation – a significant scheduling and logistical feat. Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones, and Reps. Bradley Byrne, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Gary Palmer and Terri Sewell each hosted the young leaders in their offices for individual meetings.
“It was a privilege to meet with a group of ALFA Young Farmers in Washington recently,” Roby said. “Agriculture is our state’s largest industry, and I’m proud of ALFA’s efforts to inspire the next generation to continue Alabama’s long legacy of providing the food and fiber that feeds the world.”
Agriculture Leaders For Alabama participants include:
- Taber Ellis of Autauga County
- Lance Miller of Blount County
- Amy Burgess of Blount County
- Eli Howard of Cullman County
- Wendy Yeager of Dallas County
- Leah McElmoyl of DeKalb County
- Beth Hornsby of Lee County
- Tyler Sandlin of Limestone County
- David Lee of Lowndes County
- Stinson Ellis of Lowndes County
- Samantha Carpenter of Madison County
- Hunter McBrayer of Marshall County
- Cooper Holmes of Perry County
- John DeLoach of Shelby County
- Jeremy Wilson of Talladega County
- Daniel Tubbs of Walker County
- Russell Miller of Lee County
Below are some photos of the group’s visit to Washington, D.C.