So. It was a little crazy around here last week. A quick re-cap:
1. I flew to Washington, D.C. on Monday to cover the National Ag Day festivities for Farm Progress, which mostly took place on Tuesday, March 19. (See here and here.)
2. It was great fun. Lots of good people. Lots of work crammed into a reasonably short span of time. (See photo below.)
3. My friend, Kenna Rathai, and I found ourselves with a narrow two-hour window of time on Tuesday. We wanted to go to the White House, but sequestration. So we decided to tour the Library of Congress. We were supposed to tour at 1:30. At approximately 1:20, District police closed off the street in front of it...something about a "presidential motorcade." They were kinda serious about not letting us through. And after we circled the building and were yelled at (more than once) for being in the wrong place, a friendly security guard listened to our pleas to enter the building and waved us in. Whew. Because for a second there, we thought the president was going to keep us out of the White House AND the Library of Congress.
4. The Library of Congress was definitely worth it. Did you know that the Morrill Act was one of three pieces of major legislation to shape the Midwest (including the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railroad Act) that were passed by the remaining Congressional members after the Southern states seceded from the union? I did not. Also, agriculture was all over the Library of Congress. It's filled with murals and sculptures and mosaics, and they're all fraught with meaning. And anytime they sought to represent the great bodies of work, agriculture was included, right up there with law and medicine.
5. We also squeezed in a visit to newly-elected Congressman Marlin Stutsman. He's a 4,000-acre farmer from northwest Indiana, and one of my great college friends, Matt Lloyd, is his chief of staff. I hadn't seen Matt in years (in real life, anyway) so it was a worthwhile visit in many ways.
6. I was honored to write a post for the National Ag Day blog, and to have it appear on the actual Ag Day.
7. I had one prevailing thought as I drove out of D.C. Wednesday: How is it possible for all these people to live among the great monuments to our founders – the Washington Monument, the Library of Congress, a hundred different monuments and Arlington National Cemetery, for heaven's sake – that should very much remind them of the high calling of the people who founded this country and its ideals…and yet they still can't pull it together and pass something as seemingly simply and necessary as a Farm Bill? Or anything else substantial, for that matter? I don't get it.
8. Friday wrapped up my Two Weeks of Crazy. What's up with March? Why is there always so much?
9. My Friday was spent at the Women in Agriculture conference, in the Quad Cities. I got to deliver the closing keynote address, and it was an absolute pleasure. I quoted my friend Colleen Callahan: Life is about choices, not circumstances. And that farm life is hard. But it's the hard that makes it great. (Name that movie!)