Staying Current: First Impressions Go Both Ways

The 2010 elections have passed, and it is time to meet and greet those that have direct control over many of your business activities. We all have first impressions of these newly elected or appointed officials, and you need them to have an informed and good first impression of you, your business, and your industry. In most states, the regulatory agency is the department of agriculture or environmental conservation or protection, and, in some, it could be a state board. Twelve states elect their heads of agriculture departments, and in 38 states the governor appoints them.

The elected commissioners of agriculture in the states of Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and West Virginia did not face reelection this year, nor did the governors of Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia.

The governors in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Utah and the Virgin Islands were reelected. New governors were elected in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. At the time of this writing, the recount is still ongoing in Minnesota.

This election will also have a reach far beyond this voting cycle. Nine new Republicans governors bring the total to 29 plus one independent. This will allow the new Republican governors the power to redistrict the seats in their states, in an attempt to guarantee 20 to 25 new Republican members of Congress in 2012. Should this occur, this advantage could last for at least a decade. Democrats could have a difficult time legislating since there may only be 193 of them in the House, the fewest since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president.

This is a prime time to get your face and/or name noticed and remembered by these newly elected officials, particularly new state legislators and those at the national level. Many states have regulatory advisory boards and some may be reappointed for 2011. There is no better way to have a voice in the regulatory agenda than to be on one of these boards or advisory committees, or have a member from your industry on them. If you don’t know about them, contact your in-state departments or check with your state associations.

Most appointed department heads usually have a good agricultural background that helps with decisions that affect environmental issues. However, this may not be the case with many state legislators, as agriculture is on the decline in many states. That means it is your job to educate those legislators about your business and industry. Educate them not only about its economic impact, but also about its environmental and social impact in the state. You all know how to sell and network, so just extend those skills to include these potential “customers.” Some company must take care of their property, so why can’t it be yours. Even if it is not yours, find out which company it is so you can leverage that information.

So go make those first impressions count.

Article provided by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

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