Feed Bites

Building Relationships With Local Legislators Benefits Your Company and the Industry

Written by: Guest   |   December 16, 2021

Advocacy, Guest perspective

By: Mike Schuster, vice president of sales, Laidig Systems, Inc., AFIA Board chair 2021-22

One of the main priorities of the American Feed Industry Association is to represent our industry on legislative and regulatory issues. The AFIA staff consistently communicates with legislators to provide them valuable data that assists in determining policy positions and regulations. These efforts are critical in driving the positive changes required in our common goal of producing safe, nutritious and high-quality animal food.    

One of my goals as AFIA Board chair is to assist the association’s legislative and regulatory team with improving and expanding the legislative advocacy program. This program involves promoting the importance of legislative activities, providing detailed materials and action steps allowing for more effective engagement with legislators, and actively seeking the involvement of many more AFIA members. 

Recently, two AFIA Board members demonstrated their leadership and support of the legislative advocacy initiative and invited members of Congress to their facilities. Johnny Wheat, president of 4B Components in Morton, Ill., and Wesley Wilson, president of Ag ProVision in Kenansville, N.C., welcomed their local representatives for plant tours and discussions of topics important to our industry.        

Inviting legislators to AFIA member offices and production facilities is an effective method of communicating key industry related topics and issues. There is significant value in describing the impact on the local community in the form of jobs and tax revenue. The opportunity to demonstrate the specific role a constituent has in the feed industry often will resonate with legislators.      

The visit to 4B Components by Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., was a direct result of an AFIA-sponsored virtual meeting involving several Board members. Wheat participated in that virtual meeting and then contacted Rep. LaHood’s office to invite him to tour their facility. 

The tour provided the representative with an in-depth view of 4B Components, an agricultural manufacturer in his district, and its vital role in the feed industry. Highlighting their facility, capabilities and supply provided an excellent platform for discussion on specific legislative issues.           

Wheat believes this visit established a relationship with Rep. LaHood that will enable future opportunities to keep him informed on issues important to AFIA members. Additionally, this was a beneficial event for 4B Components as a company. Wheat said:

“It was also a boost for our own personnel and helped reinforce our industry leading position.” 

Ag ProVision recently hosted Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., to tour their facility and discuss labor issues. Wilson described the labor crisis they are experiencing and the need for agricultural reform. 

Wilson maintains and values relationships with legislators to communicate issues important to his business and the industry. He also believes visits by legislators are viewed positively by his team at Ag ProVision. 

We encourage you to consider contacting your local legislators to begin establishing a relationship. The AFIA is available to assist and provide detailed materials and action steps allowing for effective engagement. Taking these steps will not only benefit your company, it will help the entire feed industry.  

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