We are all Texans in spirit this week. My heart is in my throat as I watch the flooding and devastation in Houston, eastern Texas and parts of other Gulf Coast states. We can’t help but put ourselves in the shoes of the people there, especially our fellow farmers and ranchers who face the loss of livestock and crops. Most farmers know what it’s like to fear losing almost everything we’ve worked for because of Mother Nature.
This natural disaster is still in progress as the rain continues to fall, so it is too early to say what the extent of the damage will be. But one thing I do know is that farmers always pull together in tough times. I have seen the outpouring of concern and prayers for victims of this historic storm. Texas Farm Bureau is assessing how best to respond and help the state’s Gulf-region agriculture community, and Texas Farm Bureau leaders say they have heard from farmers and Farm Bureau leaders across the country who are eager to help.
It is in times like this that I am proudest to be a farmer and a Farm Bureau member.
I can’t help but wonder what many of those farmers would do without crop insurance. I hope that our elected leaders will keep this in mind after the floodwaters recede and as work continues on the next farm bill. Thanks to the farm safety net and risk management tools in the farm bill, agriculture can rebuild and survive a Hurricane Harvey.
For now, let’s all keep the people of east Texas in our thoughts and prayers.
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.