Green Industry – Government Affairs

Green Industry – Government Affairs

There is a multitude of things evolving in the green industry right now, both in the private sector and in the Minnesota State Legislature. As we know, this is a very interesting and impactful time in the green industry. These changes, regardless of the outcome, will impact nearly every profession in the lawn care business.

The MNLA (www.mnla.biz) hosts an annual event called Green Industry Day on the Hill, and has a Government Affairs Committee. Both of these are operated on a volunteer basis and each of their functions is to be a liaison between the industry and the MN State Legislature. These two entities are very similar, and yet they’re also quite different in the way they are performed.

The Government Affairs Committee closely monitors potential issues and opportunities in the green industry. This industry is constantly presented with evolving technology, chemicals, regulations, legislation, codes, etcetera. The Committee then determines which items are deserving of MNLA involvement, and the appropriate course of action. The Committee works closely with the MNLA Executive Director, the MNLA Regulatory Affairs Manager, the MNLA Legislative Affairs Manager, and a Legislative Consultant.

The Green Industry Day on the Hill is a volunteer effort orchestrated by the MNLA that brings green industry professionals face-to-face with MN State legislators for a discussion on predetermined topics. The Government Affairs Committee selects a handful of current, pertinent issues and compiles information on all of them for each volunteer. This aids in keeping involved parties on the same page, and provides a congruent message from Industry to legislator. All appointments with legislators involved are organized by the MNLA, keeping the day very well organized.

It would be understandable to be intimidated by the thought of interacting with people of this prominence. I can personally relate to those feelings and inhibitions as I just began getting involved on this level a year ago. An important thing to acknowledge is that these legislators are regular people, too. Sure, they hold positions of great authority, influence, and responsibility, but at the end of the day they are just professionals as we are, each in our individual roles.

The ventures these groups engage in can easily go unnoticed and unrecognized as they happen behind the scenes, so to speak. However, the impact of their efforts is tremendous on all of us as citizens, employees, and business owners.

Getting personally involved and taking action certainly isn’t something fitting for everyone out there. For those of us who are apt to enlist in this activity, it’s imperative to do the research and get involved. Our continued success as an Industry rides in part on the accomplishments of volunteers like these. Our elected officials author the legislation that we all must abide by. The better they are kept informed, the better the possible outcome. I can speak firsthand; sure it can be intimidating, but it’s also rewarding.

Being involved at this level can be very beneficial for a business. This allows true industry knowledge to be expressed in potential legislation, or in amending existing legislation. This also provides a great avenue for personal development and growth. I am very passionate about this industry, so this is something I truly enjoy!

By Derek Tweten, Landscape Manager at Barrett Lawn Care

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