Day 1 – Feb. 26, 2022, by Heather Hofer

SDARL Class XI departed from various places and met at approximately 2 pm to begin our adventure in Washington, DC. From the airport, we boarded a charter bus with our friendly driver, Ron. Ron drove us for approximately two hours to Gettysburg where we checked into the 1863 Inn of Gettysburg.
Before dinner, we gathered in the breakfast area of the hotel to share personal and professional highlights since our last session. Mike Miller shared the example of advocacy – our theme for this session – as he saw it in class member, Jarrett Rix, who offered testimony in opposition to a bill in the state legislature. Mike then offered the blessing before we departed for dinner.
SDARL Class XI joined the Oklahoma Ag & Rural Leadership class for an evening of laughter, food, and fellowship. Dinner at the Dobbin House has a charming ambiance which sets the tone for the historical week ahead. The Dobbin House was built in 1776 by a Presbyterian minister. The stone building once housed Dobbin, his wife, and 19 children. It also served as a station for hiding slaves on their journey to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Special dinner guests included Rick and Susan Krause and Pennsylvania Secretary of Ag, Russell Redding and his wife, Nina. The Krause’s are strong supporters of agricultural leadership in Pennsylvania’s RULE program. Susan had been a schoolteacher for many years, and Rick shared his connection to South Dakota through a mission trip to Pine Ridge. Secretary Redding has served since 2015 and recently became part of USDA’s Ag Commission. He is also involved in PA’s RULE program. Secretary Redding shared Gettysburg’s lesson of leadership. Leadership doesn’t just come from the generals on horseback. It comes from the common, everyday person making good decisions. This is leadership, and it is what we are learning in programs just as SDARL. Secretary Redding also told about when Lincoln was asked to share “a few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Lincoln was not the invited speaker, yet his short speech is most remembered as the “new birth of freedom”. Secretary Redding challenged SDARL Class XI & OK Ag & Rural Leadership to consider what is that new birth of freedom to you?
After dinner, some of the class from both South Dakota and Oklahoma walked to Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.

Day 2 – Feb. 27, 2022 by Heather Hofer
Mike Miller kicked off Day 2 by introducing Terry Fox, a 6th generation Gettysburg resident.
5 Causes of the American Civil War:
1. Slavery
2. Industrial North v. Agrarian South
3. War between the states
4. Southern nationalism
5. Politicians’ war.
a. Failure to compromise between the states caused the war.
b. South Carolina was the 1st to secede from the Union.
Northern states even offered to keep slavery where it was. Lincoln was willing to compromise by simply keeping slavery from spreading.
i.
ii. No one was coming back. The South was fighting for their own independence.
The bombardment of Fort Sumpter was the spark that ignited the war. The first battle was Bull Run.
c. Two armies met at Gettysburg on July 1, 2, 3, 1863.
1. Army of the Potomac, commanded by George Gordon Meade, was 97,000 people.
a. Comprised of civilians
b. Named after rivers
2. Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E. Lee, was 75,000 people.
a. Named after states
Casualties from battle:
1. Union 23,000
2. Confederate 75,000
Lee was always outnumbered, yet he was winning. That was until he got to Gettysburg. The bloodiest battle in the war, some say, the bloodiest battle ever. The most Americans killed in any war in the Civil War.
How does Gettysburg connect to leadership? The tactics of the Battle of Gettysburg are not so important. What is important is that battles are commanded by people, making decisions, and that remains today.
Good recognizance, ability to think on your feet, the ability to move fast and hit from an unexpected direction.
Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates on leadership traits:
• Lead change, don’t dictate it.
• Treat people decently and with respect.
• Encourage candor.
• Accountability is a must.
• Integrity and honesty are necessities.
What followers want in leaders:
• Honesty
• Competence
• Forward-looking
• Inspirational
• Credibility
What causes successful organizations to fail?
• Overconfidence
• Underestimate the opposition
• Do not adjust to new circumstances, especially new subordinates.
Every plan needs an off-ramp strategy.
• Recognize you are in escalating commitment.
• Admit you made a mistake.
• Execute the off-ramp strategy.
Leadership styles of the Battle of Gettysburg:
• Robert E. Lee – overconfidence. Record was 8-0-1.
• With 2 new commanders, orders were not adjusted accordingly.
• George G. Meade – participatory, consensus-style leadership when possible
• Others were willing to follow him
Highlights of the Gettysburg museum included a movie depicting the Battle of Gettysburg and the Cyclorama painting. Terry continued to entertain Class XI with his unending knowledge and passion for Gettysburg. It was truly a pleasure to listen and learn from Terry Fox

Day 3 – Feb. 28, 2022 by Heather Hofer
SDARL Class XI departed Gettysburg, PA at 9 am headed to Washington, DC. Upon arrival, we checked into our hotel then ate lunch on our own at various nearby restaurants. After lunch, we had the pleasure of hearing from Christy Seyfert on the topic of advocacy.
Christy Seyfert of the American Soybean Association presented SDARL Class XI with an engaging discussion on advocacy, our theme for this seminar. Christy is a Georgia farm girl who married a Kansas farm boy. They live in Virginia with their children. Christy has been with the ASA for 11 years.
The basics – there are 3 branches of government:
• Legislation
• Regulation
• Litigation
Advocacy generally falls in the legislative branch. Your voice matters. If you are not advocating for your cause, someone else is. They may not reflect the same interest as you, so you need to be advocating for your cause.
What is advocacy at its best?
• Leveraging advocacy tools appropriately and effectively.
• Being an honest and reliable resource.
• Making a connection to a policymaker’s district or state.
• Providing a simple ask and simple message.
• Knowing where the opposition is.
• Not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Advocacy at its worst. Do not:
• Link an official action to a political contribution.
• Lie to a policymaker or staff about your request.
• Knowingly request an unfavorable action of a policymaker without disclosing the downside risk.

Advocacy Tools – ASA employs a variety of advocacy tools to advance policy priorities. Many of these involve direct farmer engagement. Your actions can make a difference. A good example of the grassroots collective action of farmer engagement was stopping the proposal regarding stepped-up basis.
Examples of advocacy tools include:
• Letters
• Social media
• Public speaking, including testimony
• PAC connection

Grassroots engagement could include:
• Virtual Hill visits
• Action alerts for direct outreach
• Town hall attendance
• Hosting farm visits
• Photos and visits
• Relationships

Coalitions, direct lobbyist advocacy, and 3rd party research or engagement are also advocacy tools.

2021 Policy priorities
• Farm economy
o Tax
o Supply chain issues i.e. fertilizer
o Biotech and crop protection tools
o Crop insurance
o Sustainability
• Markets
o Trade – soy is the #1 export.
o Biodiesel
o Bio-based products i.e. aquaculture where fish are fed soy-based feed
• Movement to/from Market
o Bipartisan infrastructure bill

Recent highlights include:
• Bipartisan infrastructure bill enacted.
• Unfavorable tax proposals were not adopted.
• Testimonies to Congress on trade, biodiesel, the farm bill, and crop insurance.
• Let efforts on supply chain issues and food vs. fuel debate.
• 2023 farm bill prep is underway.

The ASA coordinates with other agricultural organizations wherever possible to form a united front on many issues. Producers have expressed strong concerns about the need for qualified, trained FSA and NRCS staff to deliver programs.
Use your tools, get involved, and become an advocate for the issues important to you. If you don’t, someone else will and they may not have the same interests as you.

Audrey Cope is the assistant to the president of the Bipartisan Policy Center. She has been with the BPC since August. During college at Augustana University, Audrey worked for Representative Dusty Johnson. What she loves about politics is that no matter the issue, you will feel something. You may not always agree, but it will spark some feeling within you.
The Bipartisan Policy Center was founded by four former majority leaders from both sides of the aisle, including South Dakota’s Tom Daschle. The BPC is the only bipartisan think tank in DC. A think tank’s role is to do the majority of the legwork and research for a given issue.
Why bipartisanship?
It is about political courage. This is the courage to come together to the center, to compromise, to cut deals. Elections fluctuate over the course of history. We need good people in office no matter which party they represent. Relationships are the heart of politics. According to Cope, this cannot be underscored enough. Build relationships.
The BPC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is funded by donor support. Recent projects of the BPC include an energy policy working together with corporations and the ag sector. The bipartisan infrastructure bill that was recently passed was 10 years in the making. They are also working on a college campus project to ensure campus free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion are not at odds with one another.
Going forward, it will be important for people to reunite, to be meeting face to face once again. Getting people in the same room is important to rebuild connections.
What can we do to avoid polarization? Get excited about the issues, not about who is on your team. Do not tear down someone when they are elected. Focus on the things you care about. You don’t have to check your values at the door, just don’t be a jerk about it.

Day 4 – Mar. 1, 2022 by Mark Hendrix
Take away from the day: DON’T LET PERFECT GET IN THE WAY OF GOOD

We started the day off with presentations from the National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Bankers Association, Torrey and Associates, and Archer Daniels Midland. One main theme from all the presenters was, “Do not let perfect get in the way of good.”
Andrew Bailey – National Pork Producers – Science & Technology, Legal Counsel – 202-347-3600
• Pork industry is a 24-billion-dollar industry
• 1/3 of all pork production is exported. Export market was worth 8 billion dollars in 2021
• Market access with trade both in our government and foreign government.
• Access to labor is one of the big issues, people are leaving rural America. Need labor/immigration reform to keep supply chains moving properly.
• African Swine fever is being watched closely; it is important to keep it out of the US, so it does not interfere with trade.
• Part of the barnyard group (sheep, beef, poultry) might not agree on everything but work on the same team. Two percent of the world feeds 100 percent of the world. Must work with barnyard coalition groups in DC to get things done
Danielle Beck – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) – Senior Executive Director of Government Affairs
• Beef it’s what’s for dinner!
• Largest and oldest cattle association in the United States. It is a Producer and member-driven organization. Top priorities for NCBA are the cattle market, taxes, and trade. They think it is important to talk with producers to determine the impacts of proposed legislation on those who raise cattle.
• Real Meat Act is legislation they are currently working on.
• NCBA wants to see Product of the USA label meaning to be altered. Currently imported beef that is inspected by US meat inspectors can receive this label. NCBA is trying to replace the label Product of USA to be processed in the USA. Meatpackers do not like the labeling change. All packers (JBS, Cargill, National, and Tyson) sell protein and not just beef.
Edwin Elfmann – American Bankers Association (ABA) – Senior Vice President – Agricultural and Rural Banking Policy
• If it involves money, we have an opinion
• Founded in 1875
• 109 years of ABA for rural bank committee
• First National Bank in Champaign, IL in 1865
• 80% of banks have ag in portfolio
• 175 billion in Ag loans in 2021
• 71 billion in microloans
• 1600 banks are considered Farm Banks and have 81,000 employees
• PPP program had 538,000 loans for 14.5 billion
• Build back better – legislation continues to evolve
• Climate-smart ag investments (carbon credits)
• More money for EQIP (9 billion) and CSP (4 billion)
• Funding for ag climate research
• Net farm income up in 2021
• 8% of farms account for 65% of production and 31% of assets
• 90% of farms are small and hold 62% of assets
• ECORA- Would help lower interest rates as it removes taxation on farm real estate loans

Tara Smith – Torrey and Associates
• Serve Ag and Food industries
• Hill staff turn over on average every 18 months
• We have institutional knowledge that we can provide to our clients as they change CEOs or bosses
• Don’t let perfect get in the way of good

Bryan Dierlam – Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – Director of Government Relations
• Transforming the portfolio with value-added products
• 26 acquisitions since 2014
• Divestitures 10 since 2014
• Policy – “The policy dichotomy” Identifying what you want is the easy part
• Politics – “politics is everywhere” a method to reconcile competing desires
• Process – “90% of the work” manage it or solve it? How to get it done? Must put in the time to get legislation passed
• You will spend 90% of your time dealing with crazymakers. Must be honest about where you fit on the people spectrum. Identify your champion and problem solver early!

Rules of thumb
• Advocacy is a constant game of tag, checking in and touching base
• The train that’s moving is the train leaving the station
• Beware of the overloaded lifeboat
• When the big bulls fight, get out of the way. If you must ask, you are not a big bull
• Talking points are what you communicate not what you say – be authentic
• Don’t be the tall weed
• Don’t involve yourself in someone else’s drama.
• When friends fight, Congress steps aside
• If you’re good at driving your message on your issue, you don’t have to read the papers or Twitter to know what going on
• Make friends before you need them
• Be mindful of the bridges you burn; the wronged have long memories and they never seem to leave town
• You can’t insult people into agreement
• Don’t take a hostage you’re not willing to shoot
• No one will disappoint you more than a friend
• Progress is made when you combine policy, politics, and process

Day 5 – Mar. 2, 2022 by Mark Hendrix
Take away from the day: We have a lot of individuals working a thankless job in DC to promote and protect agriculture.
Casey Kinler – Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA)– Director of Membership and Marketing –
The top priority is to safeguard the future of animal agriculture
Protect – expose animal rights activists, tactics, and who they might target. Also watch who they are currently targeting either consumers, customers, policymakers, or investors. Animal rights activism is big business worth 650 million dollars. Over 100 different Animal Ag Activism groups.
Hot topics
Legislation including local policies – example was legislation introduced in Colorado in 2021 that would have greatly impacted agriculture in Colorado. Activists know the legislation will not pass they use it as a platform.
NYC launches vegan Fridays at school – Global food justice alliance is going to send a letter to NYC to see if they will move away from vegan Friday at schools
The EAT-Lancet report released by activist groups was released in 2019. A new report should be released in 2022/2023. Sustainability and climate issues are not going away.
2022 Stakeholders Summit, May 11-12, 2022 – Kansas City, MO to register visit
http://BIT.LY/AAA22SUMMIT
Sign up for animal ag allies – it was launched in 2020. Over 100 people have completed the program. The program allows individuals to learn more about other ag industries they might not be familiar with.
When hiring do a simple background check on potential employees which includes looking at social media, don’t call the phone number they list for a reference call the company and ask for the person they have listed. AAA can help with background checks.
If you receive an e-mail from an activist, it is best to ignore the e-mail and not respond to them
Check out an article written by Casey that was published in Progressive Dairy. The article was written regarding farm security.
Later in the afternoon we did our Capitol Hill visit and meet with Senators Rounds and Thune along with Representative Johnson’s staff. One takeaway was that the media loves to cover controversy, not when bipartisan work is being completed. It is also important to celebrate small wins.
Senator Rounds talked about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Putin’s nickname is poison Putin. He is known for poisoning adversaries around the world. The conflict is expected to last about 30 days. Not sure how it is going to end because Putin did not expect the Ukrainian people to fight like they are. Sanctions against Russia are working. Also have other members of the EU that want to join NATO because of this conflict.
Senator Thune talked about the farm bill; 85% of the farm bill covers nutrition and 15% is for agriculture. The farm bill is important to all representatives, so it receives bipartisan support. The other things Thune is working on are Trade Promotion Authority bill (supports), Eco-Friendly Lending (does not support) and step-up land basis value is important to allow family farms to be transferred to the next generation (supports).
We often forget that our forefathers made it difficult to change laws in the Senate by requiring 60 votes to pass a bill. The Republicans have never held 60 seats in the history of our country and the Democrats have only held 60 seats a few times. Senators have more staff members as they sit on more committees since there are only 100 compared to the 435 representatives.
Representative Dusty Johnson was not able to visit with us because he did not feel well but we still had a great visit with his staff. He is working to pass the Ocean Shipping Refinement Act. Throughout the pandemic, foreign shipping companies have determined that it is more profitable to haul empty shipping containers than to wait for American goods to be loaded. This problem has led to a backlog of American products at ports. Other important agricultural legislation is the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish and maintain a library or catalog of each type of contract offered by packers to producers for the purchase of all or part of the production of fed cattle (including cattle that are purchased or committed for delivery), including any schedules of premiums or discounts associated with the contract.
We ended the day with a reception at the residence of the ambassador of Ireland Hon. Daniel Mulhall. SDARL alumnus Michael Crinion (Class IV) facilitated the reception. The dairy industry is important in Ireland and they are starting to increase the amount of Irish whiskey that is exported. The other main issue facing Ireland and the rest of the EU is how to deal with Britain’s trade agreements since they left the EU.

Day 6 – March 3, 2022 by Mark Hendrix
SDARL joined up with ag leadership groups from Oklahoma and Washington to attend the Farm Bureau Leadership Training.
The mission of the Farm Bureau Partners in Advocacy Leadership (PAL) program is to develop super advocates for agriculture. PAL program a 2-year leadership training- class is limited to 10 people, SD has had good representation. For more information on the PAL program click this link https://www.fb.org/programs/pal-partners-in-advocacy-leadership/. Farm Credit and Bayer are the major sponsors.
Core Competencies
Self-awareness
Industry knowledge
Message Development
Message delivery
Policy engagement
Interpersonal Skills
Modules
Media engagement – New York City
Policy engagement – D.C and Gettysburg
Stakeholder engagement – St. Louis
International engagement – Depends on current events
Issues covered have included trade, farm bill, GMO labeling, immigration reform, water quality and use, renewable fuels standards, antibiotic use, estate tax, animal welfare, farm chemicals, CAFOs, cap and trade, land use, national animal ID, and rural development
It takes 5 positive stories to equal 1 negative story. Need to use social media to be an advocate for agriculture.
PAL applications will open beginning of 2024. Must be nominated by your state.
Tackling Tough Topics with Non-Farmers – Johnna Miller Director of Media & Advocacy Training, American Farm Bureau
When was the last time you changed your mind? Facts do not change our mind, it takes personal experience
Why trust is important: trust creates a social license that allows producers the freedom to operate.

Trusted expert life cycle:
Know – Like – Trust – Believe – Refer

Relationship building is very important and can be built online, so think about how you can reach out
How do we get people to KNOW and LIKE us?
Introduce yourself
Invite them to the farm/ranch
Invite them to ask you questions about what you do
Engage regularly…not just when you want something
Are you listening?
What do they want to know?
Vs.
What we want to tell them
Shared values are 3 to 5 times more powerful than sharing facts to build trust
To be successful, we must change our approach to communication
Common concerns and shared values
Impact on long-term health
Long-term impact on the environment
Animal welfare
Listen – Ask – Share

Zach Ducheneaux – Administrator – Farm Service Administration
You need to be comfortable talking to those making policy decisions for you
Climate-smart ag is another way to get liquidity back into Ag
Need to remain opportunistic that way more money can go into the farm’s hands, currently, 89% of all farms make more money from off-farm income.
He fielded a variety of questions from everyone on various topics related to FSA. He also talked about changes that we would like to see for FSA.

Marcia Bunger – Administrator – Risk Management Agency
Risk Management Agency cannot make changes if producers do not reach out. Marcia also allowed all 3 leadership groups to ask questions and to offer suggestions to improve programs that are already in place.

The afternoon was spent checking out DC. I went with a group to see the Declaration of Independence and toured Arlington National Cemetery and saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Click the link to learn more https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Changing-of-the-Guard.

We ended the great week and evening with a DC Under the Stars bus tour. We stopped at the following locations: U.S. Capitol, White House, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Korean Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Our tour guide also told other fascinating stories along the way!

Recent

April 21, 2022

Sign Up for Alumni Trip to Kentucky

SDARL alumni and current class members are invited to tour Kentucky August 7 – 12, 2022! Travel on your own or make arrangements through our …

April 20, 2022

SDARL Class Explores the Value of Human Diversity in Agriculture

Exploring the patchwork of cultures and people that unite agriculture and rural communities was the focus of the fifth seminar of South Dakota Agricultural & …

April 20, 2022

SDARL Seeking Communications and Alumni Coordinator

The South Dakota Agricultural & Rural Leadership (SDARL) Foundation is seeking a communications professional to provide public relations, social media, and alumni relations activities for …

April 5, 2022

SDARL Graduates Connecting with Ag in the Classroom

On June 8-9, 2022, Ground Works/South Dakota Ag in the Classroom will host the first ever SD Education and Agriculture Conference at South Dakota State …

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required fields