Each year, National Sorghum Producers organizes and sponsors a DC Fly-In experience, bringing farmers from across the country into our nation's capital to advocate on behalf of sorghum producers, build relationships and learn about public policy and the political process. We push on ideas and policies that make the most difference to our profitability. And policy really does matter to our bottom line. Recent policy wins for sorghum include the 2018 MFP payments of 86 cents per bushel and EPA approval of the sorghum oil pathway for biodiesel.

On day one we get briefings from staff and familiarize ourselves with topics and issues like trade, farm bill implementation, ethanol and how to do meetings on the Hill. Then we are on the Hill, meeting with Congressmen, their staffs and USDA personnel to get our message across. Make no mistake, they truly want to meet with real farmers who scratch their living out of the ground. Nobody tells our story like we do. Living, breathing constituents (we vote) carry more weight than lobbyists, who some regard as "hired guns".

The long-term population shift toward urban areas is not slowing down one bit, even in Kansas. Three counties in our state (Sedgwick, Johnson and Shawnee) have 48 percent of the legislators in Topeka. One county in California (Los Angeles county) has a population more the three times greater than the three million people who live in the entire state of Kansas.

With farmers and ranchers representing less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, we are vastly outnumbered. It is incredibly important that we find ways to stay connected and be represented in the room when relevant decisions and farm policies are being hammered out.

While there is much not to like about how the political process functions at times - it does function. And if you are not at the table, YOU are on the menu!