Warren Kaeding, MLA for Melville-Saltcoats, recently traveled to Milwaukee to attend the 75th Annual Midwestern Legislative Conference. This is his report on that event.
Report on Attendance at Midwestern Legislative Conference – Milwaukee, WI July 17-20, 2016
I attended the 75th Annual Midwestern Legislative Conference in Milwaukee along with MLA’s from Saskatchewan including the Speaker – Corey Tochor, Minister Don Morgan and fellow MLA’s Randy Weekes, Lori Carr, Steven Bonk, Greg Brkich, Delbert Kirsch, Dan D’Autremont , and opposition MLA Carla Beck. My participation was as an active member on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
In attendance were legislators, Senators, Representatives, MLA’s and government members from Alberta, Arizona, California, Colorado, DC, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Ontario, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
As an Agriculture Committee member I was able to sit in and vote on various resolutions put forward by the committee on Sunday for further discussion at the MLC Business Session on Wednesday. Resolutions discussed at the committee level included:
-Request to the USDA for Improvements to the US Crop Insurance program to improve access to crop insurance for specialty crop farmers.
-Request to support the deployment of Advanced, Innovative Electric Transmission Technology encouraging the utilization of advanced electric technologies when planning and upgrading existing electric transmission grid systems.
-Request for review of potential mergers of large agriculture input suppliers.
-Resolution for the support of the “Protein Highway” Initiative.
In my opinion the most interesting resolution was the initiative to create an innovation hub among the states and provinces of the North American Midwest that will facilitate collaboration among world class researchers to develop novel, value-added products from regional protein crops. This will provide a link to connect ideas with entrepreneurs; enable companies for scale-up; and showcase the regional plant-protein opportunities to investment partners in agricultural innovation throughout this region of North America. The next step in the process would be to develop a mission and vision statement amongst all stakeholders and set-up a funding strategy. The concept will continue to be launched at major conventions and events throughout the following year.
In addition to actively participating on the Agriculture committee we were provided an array of interesting short seminars that we could attend including “The Future of Water and Water Policy in the Midwest”, “Three State Approaches to Curbing Nutrient Pollution”, “The Future of Work and Skills in the ‘Man-Machine Age’”, Preview of the 2016 US Presidential Elections, “The Life-Changing Challenges and Opportunities of Early Childhood Development”, “Early Childhood Trauma: Promoting Prevention and Care”, “Combating Opioid Overdoses and Addiction”, ”The Art of Political Rhetoric-Speeches that Changed American History”, “Effective Communication in a Polarized Environment”.
Many of the topics were very applicable to legislators on both sides of the US/Canada border and provided insight into what various North American jurisdictions were engaged in similar issues. As an example we were able to make contact with key strategic legislators in the mid-west states and provinces who are responsible for helping find solutions to the issues discussed. For example we met with legislators from Iowa who were tasked with finding a way to increase the pace and scale of farm-led efforts to improve surface water quality.
In a totally different forum we discussed to combat Opioid overdoses and reduce addiction. We discussed interesting strategies that some states had implemented in attempting to curb opioid abuses.
Next year’s convention will be hosted in Des Moines, Iowa.