NPA Fly-In Day Tips and Lessons Learned: How to Come Prepared for a “Lobby Day”

NPA Fly-In Day Tips and Lessons Learned

Join us, read this, and come ready for 2024’s NPA Fly-In Day. Pictured: Mike with Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma from 2023’s Fly-In Day

The Natural Products Association’s annual Washington D.C. Fly-In Day will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. We’re inviting everyone with a stake in the dietary supplement industry to get involved, join the organization, and come hang with us on Capitol Hill for a “Lobby Day” experience you will never forget.

With an increasing number of states legislatively attacking consumer freedom and Senator Dick Durban threatening the industry with more bureaucratic laws when the federal government isn’t even enforcing the ones we already have, there’s never been more at stake.

The details of the NPA’s 2024 Fly-In Day are in our previous article linked above, and you can sign up via the links below. Today, we’ll provide our tips and tricks, along with some lessons learned from last year’s meetings in DC.

Members can sign up for a Fly-In Day Ticket on EventBrite.

New attendees can join the NPA to become a member (or email Michael O’Hara at

2023 was the NPA’s first Fly-In Day since 2019, and several of us were wet behind the ears. We learned quite a bit in our “rookie” appearance, and as we head into our sophomore season, we want to provide some tips and lessons learned for any newcomers:

Lessons Learned from our First Fly-In Day

With a year under our belt, we’ll go bigger and better this year.

The following are my tips (from Mike’s point of view) and are not the opinions of the NPA:

  1. Have your brief introduction ready and rehearsed

    Congressmen and women are busy. Your meeting may get interrupted by a vote on the floor. Don’t waste time.

    NPA Fly-In Day 2023

    For example, your introduction could be as simple as “I’m Joe Sixpack, I run a dozen retail stores in the Upper Peninsula” or “I’m John Smith, CEO of Smith Supplements – we sell workout drinks and employ 50 people in Knoxville.” Mine’s a bit tougher since PricePlow’s a unique business, but it goes something like this:

    “I’m Mike Roberto – I run a media company named PricePlow that has an educational podcast, blog, and social media covering supplement science and regulatory news.”

    Small talk good, long small talk bad

    Expect some small talk — these people likely grew up around where you live — but keep it minimal. If you’re five minutes in and still discussing where you send your kids to school or talking about local sports, you’ve likely already lost the plot. Just don’t.

    Also, have a business card ready, especially for sit-down meetings.

  2. Have your talking points ready and rehearsed

    Know what’s most important to you and your business and how it affects the congressperson and their other constituents – you won’t get through the full agenda listed in our 2024 Fly-In Day article.

    Mike Roberto, Mark Ledoux, and Ben Kane

    For instance, I won’t have 20 minutes to explain the NMN situation to anyone. I need to do it in less than 30 seconds.

    How do you do that? With practice. Get your phone out and record yourself until your voice is concise and impactful.

    This ties into the next point, which should be aligned:

  3. Have an ask

    Your meeting with a member of Congress should not just be a “grievance session”. I can’t just come in complaining about the FDA’s attempts to subvert the law by taking away my favorite form of vitamin B3. That accomplishes nothing.

    You need to ask for something, and it’s okay to ask for something rather bluntly. They expect this — in one meeting we had with a New Jersey rep last year, the congressman bluntly asked us, “What’s the ask?” So have your ask ready! Ideally, it should be aligned with your key talking points. The HSA / FSA bills make this easy:

    “We ask for your support with S.3172 so Americans can use their HSA funds to buy nutritional supplements. It seems like common sense legislation that will help everyone since 75% of Americans buy supplements.”

    Other asks are more nuanced.

    Ben Kane and Mike Roberto of PricePlow in an Oklahoma Meeting

    “We want you to tell the FDA to do their job appropriately” isn’t going to realistically yield any results unless this staff is already battling with the FDA.

    Meanwhile many of our issues are with states, but remember that members of Congress don’t control what happens at the state level. However… they do have influence, and still have to deal with nonsense and complaints going on at home.

    So, how do you approach it? It depends on your goals, but you need something tangible to anchor to – even if it’s just to request another meeting, to ask for their public support, or to ask them to broker a meeting with the FDA to learn both sides themselves.

  4. Research your representatives

    Once the NPA schedules your meeting, find out if this representative has worked with the dietary supplement industry or the FDA. You may find some common ground.

    And don’t be surprised if their staff researches you, too.

    This tip leads into the next:

  5. Know your place, but remember your ace-in-the-hole

    When The Vitamin Shoppe meets with New Jersey representatives, those representatives listen — there are a lot of jobs (and thus, votes) at stake.

    Ben Kane and Mike Roberto of PricePlow

    Conversely, here in Oklahoma, I’m under no illusion that dietary supplement industry activity is basically nonexistent, and our members of Congress aren’t heavily “incentivized” to care about it. I’m fighting for the same air as other powerful Oklahoma-based organizations with a strong presence in Washington.

    So, there are competing priorities for a member Congress that I need to understand how to cut through. I do, however, know two things:

    1. Nearly 75% of Americans use dietary supplements.

      This means 75% of their constituents use dietary supplements. It’s worth fighting for those citizens, especially if there’s common sense legislation like the HSA/FSA bills that can help save them money.

      This is something that every elected representative should be taught.

    2. None of my representatives are fans of cannabis.
      Natural Products Association vs. New York: Lawsuit over Supplement Restriction Law

      The Natural Products Association (NPA) has sued the State of New York (specifically attorney general Letitia James, not pictured here) over the state’s unconstitutional restrictive dietary supplement law

      Having seen how cannabis has affected Oklahoma (a story for another time), our state’s representatives are all somewhat jaded with the state of affairs surrounding the plant.

      Knowing this, there is an angle to be approached that could benefit the interests of the elected representatives.

      So while I may not get any local movement on NMN, I can potentially make progress on CBD and the farm bill in a way that improves the state’s well-being and dovetails with the FDA’s position on NMN.

      This is a situation where your research and perspective make a difference. If you’re in this industry, you need to understand how all of the pieces fit.

  6. You may meet with a staffer instead of a member of Congress

    NPA Fly-In Day 2023

    Talking with an Oklahoma Representative’s Staffer

    This happens. We all want to meet with the Senator or Representative, but that’s not always going to be the case. Sometimes, they’re pulled away to vote, for instance.

    Realize that staffers are typically the individuals in the know — they’re the ones that get things done anyway! Don’t act like they’re insignificant… many of them are around longer and have more connections in DC than the Congressional members themselves!

    So if you meet a staffer, don’t be disappointed; leverage it. Remember that this is an ongoing process. Also, see the next point:

  7. Follow-up

    Get the business cards of the right staffers and send a follow-up with relevant links. Again, having S.3172 and H.R.4794 is easy. You can always schedule future phone calls.

    Now, you have some emails and communication for when the next ridiculous thing happens. This beats having to go through social media and contact forms. Get connected, and that often starts with the staffers.

  8. Have fun!

    Dan Fabricant: NPA's 2023 Washington DC Fly-In Day for Episode #100 on the PricePlow Podcast

    Team PricePlow flew into Washington DC for the Natural Products Association’s 2023 Fly-In Day, recording a great tell-all podcast with NPA’s CEO, Dan Fabricant, who tells us in PricePlow Podcast Episode #100 why we should be involved in our industry’s politics.

    This doesn’t have to be too serious — enjoy the industry events and the other members of the NPA. We work in one of the coolest industries, which means we have the best people. Enjoy them.

With these notes in mind, you can come far more prepared than we came last year and make some real headway for the natural products and dietary supplement industry at large.

Keep an eye on PricePlow on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn), where we’ll document the 2024 Fly-In Day. You should also stay tuned to the PricePlow Podcast. We’re planning on showing up early to record at least one, but hopefully two podcasts!

You can also listen to Episode #100 with Dan Fabricant to understand why everyone should show up and get involved in DC.

Members can sign up for a Fly-In Day Ticket on EventBrite.

New attendees can join the NPA to become a member (or email Michael O’Hara at

Sign up for our Natural Products Association news alerts on PricePlow.

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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