Rural Matters

Rural Matters: Dan in D.C.

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It’s been seven years since I’ve traveled to our nation’s capital, and wow, I cannot believe how much things have changed. Yet, in classic political fashion, there’s also much that seems to be the same. 

In my day-to-day role at Landus I serve as a technical agronomist, helping farmers make better decisions for a more profitable crop year. I love my job and tackling challenges alongside our farmers. I get to dig in the dirt and find solutions for root rot, soybean cyst nematode, tar spot, and everything (literally) under the sun. I also serve as a board member for the Certified Crop Advisors (CCA), where I get to represent CCAs and farmers in the highest level of government in our country. 

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Dan and his team with U.S. Sen. Mike Braun from Indiana

Last week, members of the CCA Board of Directors and other members of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) traveled to our nation’s capital to represent farmers and agronomists in academia. 45 of us were divided into teams of eight and then met with congressional offices from across the country. I was fortunate to speak with many members from Indiana and Iowa. Some of them familiar faces, and some of them new! 

During these meetings, we were lobbying primarily for two USDA-based projects. I advocated for the USDA Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRE (Washington still loves their acronyms)), a program that directs USDA dollars for research in tar spot, Gall Midge in soybeans, root rot, and things of that nature; as well as a similar initiative called the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA), a project that invests in higher-risk experiments in research and development. 

Throughout all of these meetings and conversations, I found the staff and members highlighted ag as a priority. They were knowledgeable of all the acronyms—yes, all of them! And they asked the right questions about what farmers thought about stepping up to the challenges of tomorrow, like, how are we going to feed the additional 2.5 billion people in the world in 2025? The notion around the country, for a very long time, has been that “the farmers will meet the global demands every harvest.” We’ve been fortunate to live in that reality for a while now, but a new reality is just beyond the horizon, and funding for these two USDA projects offers a solution for how we meet the needs of the world. 

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Dan outside of U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst's office with her staffers

After logging 15,000 steps, I found a charming restaurant called, “Founding Farmers.” If you’re ever in D.C. and are starved for comfort food, this is a unique spot that was actually founded by a group of North Dakota farmers, and serves pork chops, pot roast—anything that reminds you of home, really. After a day of sharing my personal story of how important agriculture is and will be in the next few years, I thought I should’ve just taken the hill staffers here! 

All in all, there are lots of ag things going on around Capitol Hill. The Farm Bill poses an entirely different challenge, and the USDA staff have their work cut out for them. Although I’m not the typical voice of Rural Matters, I know that it’s going to take all of us to find the solutions for tomorrow’s problems.

At Landus we are committed to working on the topics and issues most important to YOU, our farmers, our customers, our employees, and our communities where we call home. Help us carry your voice and your priorities forward by taking a few minutes to let us know your thoughts in our survey, or send me an email anytime at