The MILE Program students joined ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House agriculture committees for breakfast at the National Ranching Heritage Center on Friday, Sept. 23.
Senator John Boozman (AR) and Congressman GT Thompson (PA), spent the weekend in Lubbock meeting with area agriculture organizations and Texas Tech officials to get a taste of agriculture on the South Plains.
Along with Sen. Boozman and Rep. Thompson, MILE students spoke with two other leaders who have had a lasting impact on the region. Robert Duncan, the fourth chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and former Texas senator, and Mike Conaway, a former U.S. representative for Texas’s 11th congressional district and former chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
Between the four leaders, there are decades of experience in public service and dedication to local, state, and national agricultural issues. MILE students spent the morning in an open forum discussion with the group about the pertinent topics facing agriculture while learning about the policy development process within the agriculture committees. Students also heard from each legislator about their leadership styles and what effective leadership looks like.
Sen. Boozman and former Rep. Conaway spoke about their experience and goals with the farm bill. With the 2018 Farm Bill expiring early next fall, both agriculture committees are working to finalize a new one.
As current ranking members of each committee, Sen. Boozman and Rep. Thompson will be leaders in the upcoming farm bill process.
The discussion concluded with a guided trolly tour of the NRHC grounds by the NRHC Executive Director, Jim Bret Campbell.
This unique meeting opportunity precedes the third cohort’s upcoming trip to Washington D.C. in November, where MILE students will spend a week at the nation’s capital engaging with various aspects of federal agriculture on and off Capitol Hill.