August Recess is just around the corner here in Washington, starting on July 31 for both the House and Senate. While the halls of Congress will be quiet as members clear out until September, this is a busy time for them to be visiting their home districts, meeting with the men and women they represent. It’s also a prime time for Farm Bureau grassroots members to engage on top issues for agriculture as our senators and representatives will be right in our hometowns and neighborhoods.

The formal practice of August Recess goes back more than 50 years. It was established by an act of Congress in 1970, after legislating at the national level had become a full-time job. Members of Congress recognized then, and now, the importance of getting back home to meet with constituents. From county fairs to town hall meetings, there are a number of opportunities to meet with your representatives and for them to hear from you. I encourage you to get out there, show up to these events and maybe even host an event in your community. Your county or state Farm Bureau is a great place to start to learn more about how you can be involved.

Nothing can replace sitting down for a face-to-face conversation. We can solve some of our greatest challenges by sitting down and talking things through. Our team in Washington often hears from members of Congress and their staff about how much they value meeting with farmers and ranchers, and how those meetings help shape their work throughout the year. At American Farm Bureau, we are honored to host hundreds of farmers every year when you come to Washington to visit congressional offices. But this is the time of year when Washington comes to you, and I urge you to take advantage of this time. You can reach out to your congressional district and state offices now to schedule a visit with your representative while they’re back home.

Invite members of Congress and their staff out to your farm or ranch. They will surely carry that experience with them. What they see firsthand—how you and your family pour your heart and soul into caring for the land and growing the food, fiber and fuel we all rely on—will inspire them and impact their decisions back in Washington.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn’t remind you that, among all those members of Congress heading home for recess, there are 260 who have never worked on a farm bill. Does one of those members represent you? Now is the time for them to meet a farmer and hear directly from you about how important this legislation is to your farm and our food supply. Every meeting, every conversation makes a difference.

Let’s work together to engage our lawmakers and help them make the most of their August Recess. And let’s send them back to Washington with a clear assignment this fall: to pass an effective 2023 farm bill that protects our farms, ranches and food security for all Americans.