Opioid Epidemic Takes Center Stage at AFBF Convention

Podcast / Newsline January 8, 2018

Credit: AFBF 

A panel discussion at the 99th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention focused on the opioid epidemic, impacting three out of four farmers. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: The discussion focused on a collaboration between the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union called Farm Town Strong, which the Agriculture Department is supporting as part of its commitment to rural prosperity. The campaign uses the Farm Town Strong website to raise awareness of opioid addiction, and follows a joint survey by AFBF and NFU showing rural America is harder hit than urban areas. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the campaign should serve as a conversation starter in rural America.

Duvall: The thing that we need to understand and what’s so important about Farm Town Strong is that if we can get people to open up, and if we can get people to talk about it, and get the awareness of it, then we can get them some help.

Clements: NFU President Roger Johnson says addressing the epidemic requires the agriculture community to come together.

Johnson: If there is anything that the farming community is known for, it’s when somebody is hurt, the whole community turns out to help them. And, if there is a bright side to this dark cloud, it is that when times are really tough on agriculture, the community comes together to help support it.

Clements: Duvall says coming together and providing much-needed resources will not only help address the epidemic, it will save lives.

Duvall: We have 2,700 counties that have Farm Bureaus there, and what if each one of them empowered themselves as being the loving neighbors that we would if someone just got hurt by a cow and we went and done their work for them. Look what a difference we could make in their life and if we just save one farmer’s family from being destroyed by this, it’s well worth the effort they are putting into this.

Clements: Learn more online at FarmTownStrong.org. Micheal Clements, Nashville.

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Credit: AFBF 

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