About Aronnax Public Stategies

Heartland Advocates


Aronnax Public Strategies (APS) and RDL & Associates have entered into a joint venture to provide a seamless government affairs strategy for our clients in the agricultural space.  This new venture is called Heartland Advocates.  Collaboration between federal and state government affairs teams creates additional opportunities and efficiencies, thereby providing a true team approach when it comes to an organization’s management of their political capital.

State lobbying and federal lobbying are not mutually exclusive and our affiliation provides clients with a presence in the halls of Congress and within the Executive Branch while also engaging stakeholders and policymakers throughout the United States.

A strategic and tactical communications and government relations plan allows for an organization to effectively hit the ground running at the federal, state and local levels of government and across business sectors.

Although the current Farm Bill is not scheduled to expire until 2018, reauthorization discussions are currently underway as to what the next bill should look like.  Coalitions are being formed, policies are being considered and strategic planning by stakeholders is well underway. 

There will again be a broad range of issues under consideration, including (but not limited to); commodity support programs, payment limits, biotechnology, conservation compliance, utilization of risk-management tools, federal dairy policy, agro terrorism, food safety, and nutrition programs. 

In addition, policymakers will debate issues regarding business development and retention, transportation infrastructure, technology (including telecommunications), availability of credit, education, housing and health care as they develop agriculture policy and craft the farm bill.

None of the above issues, however, will be considered in a vacuum because the agriculture policy playing field is extremely complex.  This is why it is important to have representation at both the state and federal levels of government.


Heartland Advocates is led by Fred Starzyk (Principal of APS) and Dave Ladd (President of RDL & Associates) and takes advantage of decades of experience working in the agriculture sector. 

The practice is made up of state and federal government affairs and communications firms throughout the United States and Washington, D.C. and provides clients with a full service government affairs program – both State and Federal - under one contract.

This collaboration between federal and state government affairs teams creates additional opportunities and efficiencies for our client, providing a true team approach when it comes to our clients’ government relations needs.

Fred Starzyk represented agricultural clients from several different states for more than five years which included playing a key role in securing language in the 2008 Farm Bill, as well as working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and numerous other Federal agencies.

Dave Ladd has extensive experience in the political process and the development of public policy.  He has a broad range of contacts at the federal, regional and state levels and he has developed relationships with key leaders in production agriculture, the renewable energy sector, agribusiness, financial institutions, state and federal government and Capitol Hill.

Together, Starzyk and Ladd have over three decades of combined experience working within agriculture at both the State and Federal levels and they provide a unique Federal and State government affairs service that is unparalleled.