Monday, February 23, 2015

Grow Iowa Ag Day on the Hill

A couple weeks ago, I experienced another "first." As a member of SFA, or Student Federation for Agriculture, I was privileged to attend the Grow Iowa Ag Day on the Hill event. I made the early morning (according to college student schedule) trek from Ames to Des Moines with a fellow SFA officer, Marshall Dolch. 

When we arrived, we met with a large group of Iowa agricultural enthusiasts including Dean Wintersteen, President of Iowa State, Steven Leath, and farmers from across the state to lobby our local legislators. We attended to show our support for the Iowa agricultural industry, specifically by urging the government leaders to increase the Iowa State University Experiment Station budget and support the Iowa Livestock Health Advisory Council. 

These decisions will have a big impact on our already impressive College of Veterinary Medicine. I know many livestock producers depend on those resources to improve their operations and keep Iowa ranked as a leader in agriculture. This funding will also help a growing number of students pursuing research and furthering their education at Iowa State. I know how much I have benefited from well funded programs within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and want other students to have the same great opportunities wherever their interests may lie.

Although, I really do care about livestock farmers and the impact this makes for them, as well as other students, I also encourage this support for more selfish reasons. As an Iowa State student, even if I am not part of the College of Veterinary Medicine, knowing they are on the cutting edge in the industry, makes me proud. Also, as I'm looking for a full time job in the near future, if employers hear about Iowa State for good things, it makes my degree worth more. Finally, as an Iowan in general, I love hearing my home state mentioned as the world leader when I attend conferences and seminars across the country.

As part of my first time lobbying efforts, I learned how to call my Representative out of session. Tom Sands, the Representative that serves my home county was kind enough to meet with me as well as show me around. We took the spiral stairs to sit in the viewing balcony and I watched the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. Later he explained more about his job, the session schedule, and even how the desks are arranged on the floor. 

Honestly, I was a little nervous to go an talk to so many important people, but many men and women have sacrificed so much so we can have the privilege of participating in our government. I'm glad I finally learned how to take part in that process, and would encourage you all to do the same if you haven't. I look forward for my next opportunity to attend a Day on the Hill. Thanks for reading!

Photos courtesy of Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Office, Brian Meyer

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