Getting involved in the political process is just like farming in that the seeds you plant today by voting and advocating will bear fruit in the future when agriculture-friendly lawmakers are elected and legislation favorable to farmers is enacted, according to Oregon farmer Jon Iverson.

Iverson, a recent past chair of the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, says it’s particularly important for young adults to be engaged.

“I’d say for young people, it's very important because our timeline of how long we're going to be in this industry and trying to support ourselves with our farms is a long time, and so we want to make sure that the policies we set today will positively impact us down the road. If we have negative things going on right now, it just makes it more difficult down the road, so little changes right now can make big differences for us in the future,” Iverson said in a recent Newsline.

To Iverson, engagement includes knowing how the political process works and building relationships with your lawmakers.

With Election Day just eight days away, Illinois dairy farmer Aaron Mitchell is encouraging his young farmer peers to get up to speed on the many candidates and their platforms – local, state and national – before they mark up their ballot.

“You may have already decided who you are going to vote for to be your next congressperson in Washington, D.C., or perhaps who you want elected governor of your state, but those will only be a couple of the choices you will make on your ballot in November. That’s why it’s so important – before stepping into the ballot box – to research the other races and issues you will be presented with,” Mitchell, chairman of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Committee, wrote in a recent Focus on Agriculture column.

On Election Day next week, all 435 U.S. House seats and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested. Among those races, there are over 30 House and eight Senate seats considered toss-ups by many political pundits, making voter turnout in these districts and states critical, Cody Lyon, managing director of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Advocacy and Political Affairs team, wrote in a recent article about get-out-the-vote efforts. The article is part of a series Lyon and his team call The State.

Party control over both those chambers is also at stake, which Lyon details in another article. In the currently Democratic-led House of Representatives, Republicans need a net gain of five seats for the majority, while they need a net gain of one seat for the majority in the Senate.

For those still looking for voting information, the Advocacy and Political Affairs team’s iFarmiVote website has a host of resources, including voting locations and ballot information. In Utah, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce did an excellence job posting video forums for the four congressional races, as well as the race for U.S. Senate. Those can be viewed HERE.