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Grand Forks couple gains federal policy experience

Pictured from left to right: CHS CEO Jay Debertin with producers and New Leader Program participants Joshua Stutrud, Kevin and Jessica Severson, Julie and Scott Johnson, Stephanie and Brett Robinson, and Tyler Engstrom.

Scott and Julie Johnson of Grand Forks, North Dakota, returned from their summer trip to Washington D.C. with a better understanding of federal policies facing the nation’s farmers.

“We really are important to our elected officials,” Julie said of her experience meeting with North Dakota congressional delegates. “They’d rather talk with us as we’re living with their policies every day.”

“People just don’t take advantage of these opportunities,” said Scott, who had made a similar trip in 2017. He jumped at the chance to do it again with CHS. “You can’t say you don’t have a voice if you don’t get involved. If you want to make things better for yourself, make it better for everyone.”

The Johnsons joined six other young producers for the Political Advocacy with CHS Government Affairs program, an extension of the CHS New Leaders program aimed at learning skills critical for engaging effectively and making a powerful impact on issues relevant to CHS and its owners. Participants were nominated by their co-op managers because of the potential they possess for leadership within their respective co-ops and the agriculture industry in general. The Johnsons, who raise sugar beets, wheat, soybeans and edible beans, were nominated by CHS Ag Services.

The event was held in conjunction with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) annual Washington conference. The New Leaders also participated in NCFC’s Political Advocacy & Leadership (PAL) program for young producers.

As part of the Political Advocacy program, these next generation leaders joined CHS directors and senior leadership in meetings with members of Congress. CHS Government Affairs team explained how the legislative process operated and the most effective methods to make their voices heard on current issues facing farmers now and in the future.

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