I couldn’t decide which title to use for this post. I’m feeling a little bipolar today I guess.
I spent the last week in Washington, D.C. with fellow farm broadcasters from around the U.S. We were there for the annual Washington Watch, an event hosted every year by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB).

FSA Administrator Val Dolcini
FSA Administrator Val Dolcini

We put on our suits and head to places like the United States Department of Agriculture and Capital Hill to meet with the nation’s leaders, interview them on important topics, and get to know them better so that we can do a better job of providing agriculture news to the farmers in our areas.

Agriculture Goes to Washington

Ears of corn like these are built in all over the Capital building.
Ears of corn like these are built in all over the Capital building.

One thing I didn’t know before the trip, is how much agriculture was built into the Nation’s Capital. Many of the monuments and art have incorporated agriculture in some fashion. Even in the Capital Building, there’s a reoccurring theme of corn built right into the building. So, rather than Agriculture Goes to Washington, the title should read Agriculture is All Over Washington – but that’s not quite as catchy. Still, as I think of all the times ag gets the short end of the stick from our elected officials, I wonder if they remember how it was built in to the country’s foundation.

Sunday Morning Coming Down
Even though today is Friday, I’m feeling a bit of that Sunday Morning Coming Down (from an emotional high – not a Johnny Cash-type high).

While we were in D.C., most of us maintained our normal work load – producing and hosting radio reports and shows from the road. Somehow, we also carved out a good amount of time to be with each other and bond over things like tales of work disasters and ridiculous group selfies that we swear to never post on the internet.

I *think* I had permission to post this...
I *think* I had permission to post this…

This was my first year attending Washington Watch. I was the only representative of California in the group and it’s always fun for me to meet up with cohorts from the Midwest and other areas. This year was also the inaugural NAFB leadership class, and I had the honor of being one of the nine people in the class. It was an amazing experience.

The leadership group with NAFB President Susan Littlefield
The leadership group with NAFB President Susan Littlefield

It was lead by Jerry Haack, and if you have any interest in being an effective leader I suggest you head over to his webpage. We had a shortened version of his seminar, lasting only a day and a half. But, the class brought down some personal walls and lead to some serious bonding within the group.

We wrapped up the first day of our class with a trip over to the national monuments. If you want to really cap off a day of bonding, that is the place to go. Each monument meant something different to each of us, and I spent a lot of time watching my fellow group members experiencing the monuments. And they were very patient with me, as I often held us up so I could get “just one more shot.”






The leadership class wrapped up on Sunday, and that’s when the rest of the crowd came into town and the work began. It was a whirlwind week with many details that I’d love to share, but many wouldn’t be interesting to the general public, and others, well, we all swore to secrecy.

Below are a few photos I can share with you, however. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Hopefully these will tell you how much I enjoyed D.C., but more so, how much I love this family of Farm Broadcasters who dedicate everything we have to what we do, and still find a little time to play. I already miss this motley crew. As I set my computer back to Pacific time this morning, I’m not ashamed to tell you, I wept a bit.


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More pictures
I love this one. It was taken by my friend Jody Heemstra, and shows my friends Josh McGill and Brian Winnekins helping to light up part of the Vietnam Wall where my uncle’s name is engraved so I could get a picture of it. Not shown is my friend Ken, who earlier that day helped me find the name on the wall and helped me try to get a daytime picture, and the several other friends who were there one of both times, assuring me that they didn’t mind waiting while I got this picture for my mom, or seriously tried to scheme out how we could build a human ladder so we could get a rubbing of it. This is one of my favorite pictures from my trip because of the back story involved.

My uncle's name on the wall. I didn't know it at the time, but the day my friends helped me get this shot for my mom would have been my uncle's 68th birthday.
My uncle’s name on the wall. I didn’t know it at the time, but the day my friends helped me get this shot for my mom would have been my uncle’s 68th birthday.