Our final day in D.C. started with an eye-opening presentation from Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The HSUS message is one we must recognize: many practices in livestock production may seem cruel to the general public. Collin Woodall from National Cattlemen Beef Association (NCBA) provided counter-point arguments and suggested ariculture needs strong spokespeople to defend and expand animal agriculture to feed a growing and hungry world population.
Our wrap-up session speaker was Chuck Connor of the National Council for Farmer’s Cooperatives (NCFS). As a former acting secretary of agriculture, he summed up the top ten issues in Washington D.C. today in two words: The Economy. Unlike the past when America went about its business with often little care to what happened in Washington, today Wall Street and others look to the capital to see what’s happening next. This is an atmosphere where politicians cannot be politicians, but must act in the best interests of the country. We face a lack of consumer and banking confidence that must be restored.
Exhausted, but in great spirits, we’re headed for home, grateful for a wonderful learning experience, confident in agriculture’s place to improve lives, and having strengthened our friendships.
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