"The two family farming operation was very deliberate on our part. I didn't want to be so tied to a farm that I couldn't get away
But during that period of 35 years, Barbara and I were actually off the farm for about 16 years. I was on the staff of the Quaker Lobby Group in Washington, Friends Committee on National Legislation, for four years, four and a half years in the late 1970s. Then I went back to Washington and was on the staff of Bread for the World in 1986 and 1998. So my participation in the farm was to make sure the right decisions got made at the right time. Every time I'd come home I'd go down to the cafe for breakfast when a dozen farmers would gather. And in an hour's time, I could get all the community gossip and get the sense of what these farmers thought about what was going on in Washington DC
In the farm community and in the agro-industrial community, I was the off the wall liberal. In the church community I was the resident conservative, without changing a muscle in my face
"So, I followed the farm bills very closely from that perspective since 1976. And had some part in lobbying for particular provisions of the farm bills for every farm bill since then."
Question: "Tell me, in a general way, what is the lobbying battle about."
"One is to keep track of what's going on and to maintain the contacts. Almost inevitably Congressional offices, if they're thinking about something, they need to know what the facts are, what research has been done, who knows what about this. And so a large part of the job of a lobbyist is to supply good information. And over a period of time being an honest broker of information pays off because there are a lot of other kinds of lobbyists in Washington who are selling a particular point of view and will be very selective in the kind of information they provide."