I am frequently asked what I do when I mention my passion jobs. I work quite hard (have a passion) for them. One of those jobs is being the (volunteer) Vice-President of the Iowa Farmers Union (IFU). I used to belong to a state producer group that, among other things, quit its advocacy efforts. IFU is a general farming group rather than a focused (insert commodity or market) group, and it maintains a steady presence at the statehouse and takes positions on all sorts of issues, which makes sense since agriculture touches all sorts of things including food, energy, trade, conservation, etc. It is strongly allied under a secure national umbrella for advocacy at the federal level. Most of all, it is as grassroots as it gets through education, cooperation, and legislation — IFU is truly driven by its members’ voices. All of that attracted me and felt very right, so I became a member.
People following my Instagram saw that I recently went to Savannah, GA, for the National Farmers Union (NFU) convention. Just as IFU holds a state convention and members decide on state policy priorities, NFU holds a national convention and each state/regional Farmers Union sends a delegation to drive federal policy priorities. This year, everyone adopted Iowa’s proposals for things like expanding CSP, having user-friendly systems for pesticide drift reporting, incentives for community food systems, and 196 pages of other issues.
We engaged in -very- civil debate which is absolutely lovely and refreshing. This year, I was appointed to the Credentials, Elections and Rules Committee, which has the responsibility of setting rules like Points of Order; Recognition by Chair; Speaking, Number of Times, Duration, Yield; certifying the number of delegates present and permitted to participate (199, to be exact), etc. We also had a parliamentarian present (I always explain this role as “the rules whisperer.”)
We had one proposal from the floor that called for NMR testing on imported honey:
When asked what I do, I frequently joke and say, “Absolutely nothing,” which is an absolute lie. What I do is I act on my passion.