By Zippy Duvall
This week we celebrate the birth of our nation. It’s a celebration that brings Americans of different backgrounds and political beliefs together around the table, the campfire, the fireworks display or the parade route. We celebrate our common love of country, democracy and freedom.
In recent years, it has seemed that Americans are more divided than united. But I believe we still want the same things. We want to preserve our freedoms. We want a strong economy. We want a clean environment. We want and need strong agriculture to take care of our own families and maintain our nation’s food security. The disagreement comes only when we begin to talk about how to achieve those goals.
At Farm Bureau, we believe that minimizing regulation to what’s absolutely needed supports the first two goals: freedom and economic strength. I believe it also helps us protect the environment. Encouraging and supporting voluntary conservation practices is more effective than issuing nonsensical rules that make it harder to continue farming and ranching. To maintain our food security, farmers need fair tax policies, access to labor, access to world markets and strong farm policy, including risk management tools like crop insurance, to keep farmers farming even if global prices or local storms threaten our profitability or production.
That’s how we believe Americans can achieve some of the greatest goals and values we share. Not everyone will agree, and that’s OK. Democracy is noisy, messy, rowdy—imperfect. Interestingly, it was an Englishman who so aptly summed up what makes our country great: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
For at least a few days every year, we come together under the same label: Americans. By celebrating our shared heritage and values, maybe we can refocus on what unites us.
Happy Fourth of July!
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.