U.S. Farm Bill: Balancing Hypoxia-Related Interests

by: Greg Bond, Manja Holland, Don Scavia

Publication Date: August 19, 2013
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-346

Core Disciplines: Communications, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Negotiations, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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It is 2013 and the U.S. Farm Bill is up for a vote. Senate staffer Sally Davis is reviewing the e-mails, news reports, Twitter feeds, and opinion pieces coming in and preparing her recommendations for Senator Jane Jordan D-Michigan on the vote. In doing so, she must balance farming, fishing, ethanol, fertilizer, agriculture, biotechnology, and environmental interests, while taking into consideration issues of fertilizer runoff in the Mississippi River. The runoff, mainly from increased corn farming related to ethanol production, is causing hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening available habitat for shrimp, fish, and other marine species. Students are asked to take on the roles of members from the various interest groups weighing in on the bill and formulate and implement strategies to achieve their advocacy objectives.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Analyze a complex public policy opportunity that has multiple, often competing, dimensions.
  • Identify the key stakeholders and actors, and interpret, contrast, and cogently explain their advocacy positions.
  • Formulate advocacy strategies, including potentially choosing allies and forming partnerships.
  • Implement advocacy strategies, including negotiation as necessary, to influence an aide to a key senator to achieve policy goals.