7:30 – We started the morning talking about conflict solution and reviewed the day.

The first stop of the day was the U.S.D.A. where we met with Lang Honig Chief of Crops Branch, Karis Gutter Deputy under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Ag. Services and USDA Military Veterans Ag. Liaison, and Rachel Steele, National Climate Hubs Coordinator. It was heartening to have Mr. Gutter say “we” have a story to tell, and it is a good one, in regards to agriculture. Interesting fun fact, the NASS report is signed by the Secretary of Agriculture before he reads it so it can’t be c hanged. “Just the facts, ma’am,” or something like that finally in regards to climate changes – the USDA’s climate change program recognizes it is the sometimes the terminology that causes conflict rather than what the real issues are.

The group photo at the Great Memorial went pretty well considering the wind chill was probably 5 degrees. We are a hearty group for sure.

Another great opportunity for the Greatest MARL Class VIII ever, Collin Peterson stopped in to meet us when we were in the Ag. Committee meeting room. He shared his words of wisdom with us and we greatly appreciated him taking the time to stop in.

Since we were already through security and got to experience the insanely busy cafeteria in the Longworth Building, it was on to our congressional appointments. Our class had the opportunity to meet with staff members from Walz, Kline, Paulson, Emmer, and Peterson’s office. Thanks to our wonderful classmate Shaun Schlosser some of us got to meet Congressman Walz. In my group we met staffers from Congressional Kline’s office. Pat was phenomenal in explaining a lot of interesting things to us. Not the least of which was it does make a difference to the office how we contact them and they are listening.

Finally our day ended with a trip out to Gadsby’s. This tavern made us feel like we were stepping back in time to colonial Virginia, definitely a highlight of our week. Mike Liepold’s guest John Douglass Hall was a favorite among us all for his interpretation of colonial times. Of course having Robin Kinney there was tremendously fun, along with Jeff Harrison and Brandon, lobbyists for corn growers,

and Genya Dana (State Department, Office of Science and Technology) a scientist with an interesting and supportive attitude in science and agriculture. Our brief debriefing at the hotel said everyone had a great day and I’m sure we are all excited for tomorrow.

The Greatest MARL Class VIII Ever,
-Barb Liebenstein


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