We can expect Fourth of July gatherings to look a bit different this weekend than in recent years. But whether you’re more spread out or keeping celebrations to close friends and family, we can all stay safe, find time to give thanks for our country and honor the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom.
I hope you’ll also join me again in thanking the brave men and women who report to work in different uniforms—from the health care workers on the frontlines to those delivering essential products to our communities. There are some jobs that are more than a day’s work: they are lifelong callings.
Farming is also one of those callings. Farmers and ranchers know how much our families, communities and country depend on us. This fact hit home even harder this year, especially as many of us faced empty grocery store shelves and mile-long lines at food pantries this spring and summer. For most of us, this was the first time we have experienced anything like this, and I doubt we’ll be quick to take our safe, abundant food supply for granted again.
According to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau, 84% of respondents say they trust American farmers and ranchers. That’s an overwhelming and humbling statistic. I know farmers value that trust, and we take the responsibility that comes with it seriously. We know you and your families are counting on us, in good times and bad.
There’s no question that agriculture is an essential industry. Work on the farm did not let up in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our work is still going strong now. That’s why at Farm Bureau, we started the #StillFarming campaign this spring. We wanted to assure the public that the work of a farm never stops, rain or shine. And farmers know we cannot do this work alone either. We rely on and are grateful for the hundreds of thousands of skilled men and women who join us in our work on the farm to ensure crops are tended and harvested and that animals are cared for.
As we celebrate our nation’s birthday this weekend, let’s remember that our nation is stronger when we work together. No matter your calling or the uniform you report to work in—whether that includes scrubs or jeans, suit jacket or trucker hat—we all play an essential role in serving our communities and preserving freedom for all.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.