We live in a time when everything, from the shoes on your feet to where you like to buy your chicken sandwich, seems like a political statement. It can be frustrating that everything has become so political, but it’s also great to see people so engaged in the national discussion. I heard that early voting in this year’s elections was up 50 percent compared to two years ago. That’s great! At least this time when everyone is so absorbed by politics has driven more participation by citizens of all stripes.
One thing that should not be political is American agriculture. No matter what party affiliation you have, we all eat! We all want our nation to be “food secure”—able to feed our people and not have to depend on other countries for our most basic need. Even in this time of political division, we have more in common than not. We all want a strong nation, a strong economy, strong communities, strong families and strong food production.
By the time you read this, we will know the outcome of this year’s elections. Whether the media declares it a red wave or a blue wave, I’m hoping and praying for a green wave—a wave of elected leaders who will be committed to supporting American agriculture as we work to grow our crops, raise our animals and feed, fuel and clothe our nation.
When the new Congress is sworn in and gets to work, Farm Bureau will be working to educate the new members about the issues that impact our ability to sustain our farms and ranches.
We’ll let them know that we must continue to rein in government regulations that increase the cost of farming and ranching and, in some cases, even prevent us from being productive. We’ll continue to press for solutions to our growing ag labor problem—probably the greatest threat to farmers’ ability to grow their operations so they can support growing farm families. We will ask them to work with us to better our struggling farm economy, including opening more markets for our exports. We’ll push for resources to fix our crumbling infrastructure, bring more rural Americans into the Internet age with broadband access, and support agricultural research to continue the innovation we need to be economically and environmentally sustainable. We will urge them to support our continued growth toward energy independence by growing energy crops on our farms and incentivizing the use of renewable fuels.
Whatever the outcome of these mid-term elections, let’s come together behind our shared goal of supporting and growing American agriculture. There’s a quote by Thomas Jefferson on the wall at the American Farm Bureau office in Washington, D.C., that sums it up quite well:
“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. You can follow him on Twitter @ZippyDuvall.