By: Caitlin Powers
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program traveled to Washington D.C., Maryland and New York with its 26 participants to gain a broader perspective of agricultural issues April 20-27, 2013.
“This seminar provides an insight on how agricultural issues are viewed from the national level and on the East Coast,” Jim Mazurkiewicz, Ph.D., leadership program director and professor said.
The TALL program enhances the leadership skills of men and women in agriculture. Each class consists of at least 24 people from every sector of agriculture and all parts of Texas.
The two-year program is practical and action-oriented in which participants meet eight times for seminars. The trip to New York and Washington D.C. was the program’s fourth seminar.
During the visit to Washington D.C., TALL participants engaged in one on one meetings with several U.S. congressman and senators, executive directors from agricultural organizations, senior advisors to the president, USDA and Commerce Department administrators and lobbyists Mazurkiewicz said.
TALL participants met with agricultural preservation organizations, agriculture producers and a variety of farming operations to gather an understanding of agricultural issues facing East Coast agriculture.
While in New York City, TALL participants interacted with various agricultural cooperatives such as Fulton Fish Market, Hunts Point Fresh Meats and Hunts Point Fruits and Vegetables.
Participants traveled to Harlem where they visited a food pantry, soup kitchen and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program office.
Speakers from National Farm Credit and a world commodities broker also visited with TALL participants in the financial district of New York City.
“We learned that Agriculture is regional and so are some of the issues with corn in the Midwest, cotton in the south and sugar in the southeast,” Mazurkiewicz said.
“The message was that we need to work together with a common message and that sometimes you have to lose a little for the good of the whole.”