There’s nothing quite like the hum of Capitol Hill during springtime. Members of Congress are debating, the iconic cherry blossom trees are beginning to bloom, and D.C. is alive with activity from school groups and engaged advocates from all across the country.

Each spring, Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) members make an annual pilgrimage to our nation’s capital to advocate our policy priorities to our congressional delegation and agency leaders. This week, the MOFB fly-in returns after a brief pandemic-induced hiatus. Our members and team couldn’t be more excited to be back in the halls of Congress working on our policy agenda. This trip is a reward for many of our members who have helped shepherd our policy development process over the last year, which produces our annual legislative priorities.

Congress has an extensive agenda in 2023. For Farm Bureau members, crafting a strong safety net is at the top of the list. The 2018 Farm Bill is set to expire, paving the way for a new 2023 Farm Bill to be crafted. At the heart of our policy priorities is protecting crop insurance and farm safety net programs, as farmers continue to weather a strained economic situation. In addition, MOFB continues to drive conversations surrounding common-sense conservation. As the Biden Administration continues its “all of government” approach toward climate change, MOFB stands positioned to ensure farmers and ranchers are strongly represented in conversations regarding conservation policy. Many Missouri producers already utilize one or multiple conservation practices on their farms; highlighting the important work our farmers do to care for the environment.

Aside from the farm bill, our members will be sharing the need for continued oversight of regulatory proposals from the Biden Administration. MOFB vigorously opposes the 2022 WOTUS Final Rule, which is set to take effect on March 20, 2023. In addition, we continue to see crop protection products further restricted by the Environmental Protection Agency, potentially impacting our access and farm productivity. Furthermore, proposals to require additional emissions reporting and more red tape for farmers and ranchers are proposed nearly every week.

Last, but certainly not least, our members will be asking our delegation to promote policies that increase domestic production of energy and agricultural inputs. Farmers and ranchers across the nation are feeling the impacts of inflation and continued supply chain issues as we enter the 2023 growing season. Congress must explore ways to promote domestic production of energy and agriculture inputs to alleviate some of the constraints agriculture and other industries are facing.

When we conclude our visits at the end of this week, and as I board the plane to go home, I always reflect on the trip with a sense of gratitude. I’m grateful for our members; I’m grateful for my farm and family at home, and I’m grateful for Missouri’s Congressional Delegation who are working to make our country a better place for all of us.