Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union this week announced Farm Town Strong, a campaign to help rural communities struggling with the opioid epidemic. The campaign will help provide resources and information regarding opioids to farm communities. USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, Anne Hazlett, says the campaign helps address the lack of resources available in rural America.
Hazlett: As rural families look where to turn, AFBF and NFU have certainly taken a big step in announcing the FarmTownStrong.org website. This is a tremendous resource that really helps put a human face and a basic understanding on what is a complex and often overwhelming issue.
Clements: A recent joint report by AFBF and NFU found rural communities have been overwhelmingly impacted by the epidemic.
Hazlett: The impacts in rural America has been particularly monumental. The report released last fall confirms three in four farmers have been directly impacted by the opioid epidemic. This information builds on an October release by the Centers for Disease Control which said that overdose deaths in rural areas have now exceeded those in urban centers.
Clements: She says collaboration between groups like AFBF and NFU will help rural communities to address and overcome the challenge.
Hazlett: It will take commitment, collaboration and creativity from a wide range of federal, state and local partners to address. Rural communities are strong, and the strength of our towns can overcome this crisis.
Clements: AFBF and NFU will hold public events to share resources starting at the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Nashville, Tennessee. Micheal Clements, Washington.