Opinion: We farmers are asking Farmers to Please get VaccinatedFri, 27 Aug 2021 09:36:42 CDT
Farm organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, are urging rural Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Decisions that we make now on vaccinations can help ensure the months and years ahead are much brighter. Editorial by Randy Mooney and Zippy DuvallGuest columnists
"Farmers make science-based decisions every day for the benefit of their farms, but today, we are asking them to make science-based decisions to ensure the health of their families and their communities," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall in an op-ed published in the Des Moines Register. "Having long played a critical role in maintaining the health of our rural communities and economies, farmers and ranchers can do so once again by getting vaccinated."
Choices matter. Every single day farmers make choices that result in profound impacts on their communities and world, from which crops to plant to how to best care for their air, water, land and livestock. Today, we need more farmers to make the choice to protect their health and their community.
As we hear heartbreaking accounts of the COVID-19 resurgence depleting resources and stressing health care systems in rural communities in Iowa and across the nation, we canít help but feel a deep sense of frustration. Thatís why, as the leaders of organizations that represent and serve farmers, we are speaking up to support vaccination efforts in our rural communities and in all communities nationwide. Farmers make science-based decisions every day for the benefit of their farms, but today, we are asking them to make science-based decisions to ensure the health of their families and their communities. Having long played a critical role in maintaining the health of our rural communities and economies, farmers and ranchers can do so once again by getting vaccinated.
Farmers are no strangers to vaccines. Farmers and ranchers who raise livestock administer them regularly to protect our animals. Agriculture pioneered the development of safe coronavirus vaccines decades ago. Shots that prevent bovine coronavirus have been available since the 1970s. Technological advances have long benefited agriculture, but the development of safe, effective COVID vaccines for humans in the past year has only further confirmed our already-strong appreciation for science and research.
But recent events show us that much more work needs to be done. The need for shots remains, as does the need to share accurate information that addresses concerns. The rise in cases from the delta variant only further highlights whatís been true all along: For a vaccination campaign to work, people must individually decide to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. The pandemicís toll on rural health and businesses, as well as our broader economy, wonít ebb until that happens. The key to defeating coronavirus, like it was for polio, measles, and other diseases that left their mark across the countryside, is the vaccine. Success will only be achieved one decision ó and one person ó at a time.
Farmers know how powerful an individual decision can be. Their choices, and their dedication, keep families and communities healthy, clothed, and fed. Decisions made on the farm today have long-term consequences for the quantity and quality of the food that arrives in our grocery stores. And just like the planting decisions we make this spring, the decisions that we make now on vaccinations can help ensure the months and years ahead are much brighter as we wrestle COVID-19 to the ground. In farm country, we talk a lot about rolling up our sleeves to get the job done in our fields and pastures. Now itís time that we join together to roll up our sleeves one more time to get this job done.
Randy Mooney, a Rogersville, Missouri dairy farmer, is chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation. Zippy Duvall is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
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