The Hand That Feeds U.S. pays a visit to the West Coast for media tour
Washington, DC (April 23)—Last week, a group of farmers took time out from preparing for spring planting to discuss farm policy issues with agricultural reporters on the West Coast. The group visited Los Angeles and San Francisco to meet with reporters from the Los Angeles Times, NPR, MarketWatch, and Capital Press on behalf of The Hand That Feeds U.S.
"I was extremely pleased with the discussions we had with the agricultural media in Los Angeles and San Francisco," said Larry Combest, former congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, who serves as a spokesman for The Hand That Feeds U.S. and led the farmers on the trip. "Agriculture often faces negative coverage in urban media due to misinformation campaigns by anti-ag groups, but the reporters we met with on our trip were very open to listening to the concerns of farmers, and they asked some great questions."
Mr. Combest was joined by Steve Verett, a cotton farmer from Texas and executive vice president of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.; John Thaemert, a wheat farmer from Kansas and vice president and trust officer for Citizens State Bank & Trust Co.; and Pamela Yoder, a corn farmer from Texas.
"With the USDA's proposed cuts to crop insurance in the SRA renegotiation and the hearings for the 2012 farm bill starting up, this is an especially important time for us to discuss with the media the problems faced by rural America," said Mr. Verett. "The farm safety net continues to be a target for cuts, but it is absolutely essential to the health and future of this country."
It is particularly meaningful that the group's tour took place during tax day, as farm policy is one of the few major policies that continues to come in under budget while still producing results.
Los Angeles and San Francisco were the fourth and fifth stops in a series of urban media tours for The Hand That Feeds U.S. Last year, the group met with reporters in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC.