The more difficult, but needed, approach, is to find common ground
A close reading of policy statements from dairy producers will reveal one word that keeps popping up: bipartisan.
Looking at the political landscape that’s coming into focus after the 2020 elections – the most bitter and viciously fought in anyone’s memory — it’s safe to say that for at least the next two years, bipartisanship isn’t everything. It’s the only thing, as hard as that may be for some to accept at this moment.
While some congressional electoral battles aren’t over yet, 2021’s political contours are already clear. The House of Representatives will be more narrowly divided. The Senate will be more narrowly
The more difficult, but needed, approach, is to find common ground, if not on everything, then at least the most pressing issues of the day: coronavirus, the economy, and other key concerns that are literally life-and-death for lives and livelihoods. Despite the easy impulse toward cynicism, bipartisan solutions have been found just this year, and can be found again.
Dairy has its own interests, just like everyone else. But the emphasis dairy places on bipartisanship isn’t just lip service. It’s rooted in specific circumstances that’s produced a distinct emphasis among dairy farmers to seek political common ground.
That ability to talk to and work with both sides has also given dairy a unique sensitivity, and ability to address, concerns from across the political and consumer spectrum. Dairy fights against regulations that needlessly undermine their ability to effectively feed the world; it’s also highly sensitive toward public concerns, proactively addressing issues such as animal welfare and workplace safety through its FARM Program and supporting initiatives such as the Dairy Environmental Sustainability Goals and dairy’s Net-Zero Initiative to achieve a carbon-neutral sector by 2050. Dairy producers know that successfully serving common goals is possible, because we achieve it every day. And we will continue to seek bipartisan solutions in today’s often-treacherous political environment.
In the end, dairy farmers produce a commodity, one among numerous other commodities jostling in the policy arena. But the most valuable commodity in America today may be the ability to bridge partisan divides: That’s always been important, but it may be becoming existential. Dairy, in its own way and for its own reasons, is well-positioned to be part of today’s necessary policy solutions, and it’s all because of that word that keeps coming up: bipartisan.
We congratulate President-elect Biden and the incoming members of the 117th Congress. There’s a lot of work to do in this country in the next few months and years, from legislating to healing. Dairy is ready to do its part – and much more, if that’s what the nation needs.