AAM tends to business in D.C.

On March 26, 2004, a group of AAMers flew to D.C. with two missions in mind. Number one, we were going to go to our D.C. office and do some cleaning. Everything was still in boxes from our move from 100 Maryland Avenue and it needed to be gone through. We sorted all day Saturday and Sunday. Some records were sent to Buddy Vanceís some to Joyce Jobgenís and a carload went with Lynn Kirkpatrick back to Missouri. Lynn will be bringing them to convention in 2005.

On March 29 and 30 we attended the Alliance for Rural Americaís Energy Conference. This was the 6th rural energy issues conference. It was very well attended and the speakers were very informative.

Our keynote speaker was Patrick Wood III from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) followed by three panels each speaking about one hour. We had about two hours off for lunch and returned to hear about the new perspectives on clean air. Our special guest speaker was Congressman Ralph Hall who is the chairman of the house subcommittee on Energy and Clean Air. The afternoon wrapped up with speakers from Clean Fuels Development Coalition and American Agriculture Wind Coalition.

On Tuesday the 30th, everyone was assigned trips to the hill. We divided up into groups of about three people and visited with staff people from congressional offices. Our issues were key. Farmers need a comprehensive energy bill this year. Farmers want programs to include upgrading and improvements for transmission lines. Farmers need the Renewable Fuel Standard in the bill, and we need to modernize our Clean Air Laws. We need development of renewable fuels, especially bioenergy and wind power. Lets not get clean air confused with climate change. We donít need any unfunded mandates which require drastically higher energy prices for consumers. Legislation must keep electricity affordable and reliable for rural America.

This conference was sponsored by Edison Electric and the plane fare and hotel rooms were provided. We are very grateful for all the participants and AAMís opportunity to be included. The Alliance for Rural America is an organization that AAM has been part of since it began.

Member organizations are: American Corn Growers, Federation of Southern Co-ops, NFO, WIFE, Grange, Soybean Producers of American, NAFAC and AAM.

Joyce Jobgen reporting

Sure wish it would rain in South Dakota!