Wednesday, September 08, 2021

More than 30 farm and agribusiness groups urge rural residents to get vaccinated, emphasizing individual choice

More than 30 farm and agribusiness groups have signed an open letter encouraging rural residents to get vaccinated. 

"As we hear heartbreaking accounts of the Covid-19 resurgence depleting resources in rural communities and overwhelming already stressed rural health care systems, we can’t help but feel a deep sense of frustration," the letter says. "After so much progress in fighting the pandemic – the decisions we’ve all made to stay safe, the work to develop a vaccine and a distribution system that could reach every American — we still have so far to go. As a farmer, a food worker or an input provider, we know that you play a critical role in the health of our rural towns and businesses. We know that you take great pride in helping keep your communities vibrant. Unfortunately, the virus is still threatening that vibrancy in many rural areas and indeed, in our nation.

"That’s why, as leaders of agricultural organizations, we are speaking up to support vaccination efforts in our rural communities and in all communities nationwide. To enable informed choices, it is critical that accurate information be heeded — and there has been no shortage of scientific data that supports the effectiveness and necessity of the Covid-19 vaccines. We know that you make science-based decisions every day—whether those decisions are how best to protect your crops or your livestock. Now, however, we need your help in ensuring the health of your families and your communities, which is why we urge you to support vaccinations in your community."

Signers include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Milk Producers Federation, the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

The letter reminds farmers and ranchers that they regularly administer vaccines to protect their animals, and that approved vaccines are safe and effective. Readers are urged to speak with a doctor or trusted local medical expert to get the facts.

Notably, the letter appeals to farmers' individual choice—a conservative mainstay since the beginning of the pandemic: "You know how powerful an individual decision can be. The decision you make on your farm today will feed your family and consumers around the world. Your choices and your dedication keep families and communities healthy. And just like these farm decisions, the decisions you make now can help ensure the months and years ahead are much brighter as we wrestle COVID-19 to the ground. In farm country, we talk a lot about rolling up our sleeves to get the job done in our fields and pastures. Now it is time that we join together and roll up our sleeves one more time to get this job done."

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