An often-repeated quote attributed to former Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill says, “All politics is local.”

Today’s family farmers and ranchers might disagree. They know that their livelihoods increasingly are influenced by budget issues and regulatory edicts from Washington, D.C., and by crop and livestock production and trade barriers around the world.

“Some of these issues are so complex that we don’t know the right questions to ask,” retiring Nebraska Farm Bureau President Keith Olsen of Grant said, adding that it doesn’t help that “things are a mess in Washington, D.C.”