South Dakota Agricultural & Rural Leadership Program (SDARL) Class XI members experienced agricultural leadership advocacy at the federal level during the Edge, Agropur, and Valley Queen National Study Seminar in Washington, D.C., February 26 to March 4, 2022.

The seminar began in Gettysburg, PA, where Russel Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, welcomed the group and gave a brief overview of the agricultural landscape in the state. Class XI members spent a full day at Gettysburg National Military Park learning leadership lessons from the battlefield with Terry Fox, a sixth-generation resident of Gettysburg and Battlefield Guide Emeritus (pictured above).

In the nation’s capital, the class discussed current topics with representatives of commodity groups that advocate on behalf of agricultural organizations. These included the American Soybean Association, Animal Agriculture Alliance, Bipartisan Policy Center, American Bankers Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (pictured above is Danielle Beck, Executive Director of the NCBA), Archer Daniels Midland, and Torrey and Associates. The group met with dairy producers from the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative who were in Washington, D.C., advocating for that industry.

The day after President Biden’s State of the Union address, Class XI members were at the U.S. Capitol for meetings with the South Dakota Congressional delegation. The group heard from Senators Mike Rounds (pictured above with the class in the Capitol) and John Thune, and staff members from the office of Representative Dusty Johnson. That evening, the group attended a reception at the residence of the Hon. Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador from Ireland to the United States (pictured at right, below).

SDARL class members attended a joint meeting with agricultural leadership programs from Oklahoma and Washington, held at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The group received advocacy training from Johnna Miller on the AFBF “Partners in Advocacy” leadership program. Briefings were provided to the three state leadership programs from Marcia Bunger, Administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency, and Zach Ducheneaux of South Dakota, Administrator of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

The Edge, Agropur, and Valley Queen National Study Seminar is sponsored through endowed donations from the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, Agropur, and Valley Queen Charitable Foundation.

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