If USDA studied our industry and how it works and how the packers can plan their run times, chain speed, and everything because they have at least 80 percent of their kill planned for the next for weeks, that is where the anticompetitive part of the market exists. It’s the formula agreements the packers have on both the buy and sell sides.
– J. Dudley Butler, past administrator for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
Contact your Legislators
While you can always use the information you have found through various sources, you should write your letter in your own words. Include specific information about the bill or program about which you’re writing. Details about personal or local impact are very effective. Always be courteous, and be very clear about what action you’d like your legislator to take.
- Know your facts. Be sure you have the basic information about your topic in front of you when you call. You should be able to specifically describe the topic about which you are calling and state your opinion on what your legislator should do.
- Note your expertise. If you have professional experience on the issue on which you are calling, be sure to mention it. It will help to establish your credibility on the issue and may event prompt the aide to ask you for some guidance on the issue.
- Be brief. Aides receive a high volume of phone calls every day, so keep your call short.
- Be timely. Timeliness is especially important when you are phoning. If the vote on your issue is imminent, the aide is much more likely to pay attention to what you say.
- Consider calling the local office. Calling the office in your district or state, rather than the Washington office, can sometimes be very effective. If you are calling about a vote or other timely issues, always call the Washington office. But, if you are calling generally about an issue that affects your district or community, calling the local office can be a good way to make them aware of an issue.
Call your representative directly or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. You can also ask to speak to the aide who handles the issue about which you are calling. If you cannot speak directly with the aide, leave a message with the receptionist stating your views.
Letter or Email
Personal messages from constituents can be a very effective way of communicating with your legislators. Always be sure to include your name and address to make it clear that you live in the relevant district or state. All letters should start with Dear Senator/ Representative, and they can be just a few paragraphs about a single issue.
While phone calls and letters may still carry more weight in the eyes of lawmakers and congressional aides, speaking to your legislators through social media has the advantage of occurring in the public eye. When you comment on your legislator’s Facebook page or send a tweet, other constituents can read your message. This may spark a dialogue. It could also help increase awareness about the issue you’re raising and build support for your cause.
Twitter Profiles of Lawmakers and Notable Ag Influencers:
- President Joseph Biden: @POTUS
- Secretary Tom Vilsack: @SecVilsack
- U.S. Senators for South Dakota, Mike Rounds: @SenatorRounds & John Thune: @SenJohnThune
- U.S. Representative for South Dakota and Agriculture Committee member, Dusty Johnson: @RepDustyJohnson
- U.S. Senators for Montana, Steve Daines: @SteveDaines & Jon Tester: @SenatorTester
- U.S. Senators for North Dakota, John Hoeven: @SenJohnHoeven & Kevin Cramer: @SenKevinCramer
- U.S. Senators for Wyoming, John Barrassso: @SenJohnBarrasso & Mike Enzi: @SenatorEnzi
- U.S. Senators for Nebraska, Deb Fischer: @SenatorFischer & Ben Sasse: @SenSasse
- Senate Ag Republicans: @SenateAgGOP
- Senate Ag Democrats: @SenateAgDems
How to Contact Your Elected Officials
Federal Elected Officials
- Contact President Joseph Biden online, or call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 or the comments line at 202-456-1111 during business hours.
- Locate your U.S. senators’ contact information.
- Find your U.S. representative’s website and contact information.
State Elected Officials
- Get in touch with your state governor.
- Find the names and current activities of your state legislators.
Local Elected Officials
- Locate your mayor by name or city.
- Find your county executive (the head of the executive branch of government in your county) by map search or your ZIP code. The county executive may be an elected or an appointed position.
- Get contact information for your city, county, and town officials.