Leaders of American Agri-Women (AAW) from throughout the country connected with their consumers and policy makers at the organization’s 27th annual Fly- In to Washington D.C.

Sarah Kramer, President and Carin Ryan, Immediate Past President of the San Luis Obispo Chapter of California Women for Agriculture, as well as Santa Maria CWA member Ruth Jensen who serves as National Food Safety Director for American Agri-Women were among the 50+ women who participated in 2012 AAW Fly-In to Washington, DC.  During the week, women from throughout the country met with officials at the US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Labor, the US Forest Service and with Members of Congress, to name a few.

The Annual AAW Symposium: “Sustainable Development – the Impact on Agriculture” was held at the National Press Club and covered issues relating to the Agenda 21 impacts on American Agriculture. Visits to the Russian Embassy and Brazil Embassy gave members the opportunity to exchange in diplomatic relations.

AAW members were provided briefings on Animal Welfare issues; Immigration legislation and problems facing the cattle industry. Pulitzer Prize recipient, Gretchen Morgenson, reporter with the NY Times and author of Reckless Abandonment was the guest Lecturer at the Allan P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies. Her topic “Absence of Accountability” highlighted how “Taxpayers are asked to bail out reckless companies who have not been held accountable for their dealings.”

Every member took the opportunity to engage in a lively discussion regarding farm child labor with Department of Labor representatives Melvina Ford, Senior Policy Advisor Wage and Hour Division and Nikki McKinny. Each member present took a moment to articulate how the family farm is a safe, productive learning environment where children of family members and others interested in agriculture can begin training to ensure a thriving and educated agricultural workforce for the next generation.

AAW also brought their 2012 policy positions to their Congressional Representatives and Senators on the Hill. The priority issues included the 2012 Farm Bill; Estate Taxation; Immigration Reform and Ag Labor Shortages; and Land and Water Conservation Act.

Over 200 guests attended the AAW Congressional Reception in House Agriculture Committee Room on Wednesday evening.  This year’s “Champions of Agriculture” recognitions were awarded to Senator Debbie Stabenow, (D-MI) and Representative Cynthia Lummis, (R-WY). AAW President, Karen Yost said, “These outstanding individuals have dedicated themselves to uniting members in congress to ensure that legislation supports the integrity of American food and fiber production.”

American Agri-Women is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women with over fifty state, commodity and agribusiness affiliate organizations throughout the country. It is an all-volunteer organization, working to advocate for agriculture since 1974. For more information, contact Ruth Jensen rjensen@ual.org or call 805-264-4476. Also, visit www.americanagriwomen.org.