Our voice is our voice

In America, elections are important to our future. Whether for a school board, water conservation district, or a member of Congress, we should do our best to cast our ballot every chance we get.

Voting for candidates who support your values and who will work to implement the policies you prefer is important for many reasons. It helps our government enact the will of the people, ensures a strong democracy, and gives everyone equal opportunity to have a voice in a government that should be of, by, and for the people.

In just over a month, tens of millions of Americans will cast their ballots to elect one-third of the U.S. Senate, all 435 members of the House, and fill thousands of state and local offices. As a grassroots organization, Farm Bureau members are always working to advance policies that will help farmers and ranchers stock America’s pantries and ensure a vibrant future for our communities. Of course, calling, emailing, and meeting with our representatives is critical to advancing responsible policies, but voting is the most important way we can all make our voices heard.

Farmers and ranchers know all too well how government policy can impact their farms. Issues like labor, trade, taxes, and how we raise crops and livestock are just four of the hundreds of areas where the government can reach on to our farms. We need elected officials who will help us solve the challenges we face, not create more. So, as you evaluate which candidates to support, be sure to consider how their viewpoints might affect agriculture.

The members of Congress you elect this November will be responsible for writing—and passing—the farm bill next year. This is a critical piece of legislation for agriculture, our rural communities, and for those who need a helping hand to put food on their family’s table. The November elections will likely usher in one of the largest classes of new Members of Congress in decades. We must ensure that our newly minted federal legislators understand agriculture and how farm bill policies help protect our farms for the next generation.

And while your votes for federal offices are important, taking the time to learn about candidates for state and local offices is just as important—and maybe even more so. Our local governments set county ordinances that could limit how many animals you can raise or where you can farm. Recognizing that more folks from urban and suburban areas have moved into rural America since the start of the pandemic, it’s important to invite our new neighbors onto the farm to demonstrate how we care for the land and our animals. After all, they may be the next candidates for office or witnesses at a hearing.

To help you find out who is running for federal and state offices, we launched the iFarmiVote resource. This website can help you register to vote, find your voting location, discover ballot information, and learn about voting requirements in your state

I hope you’ll join me in voting this November. Many candidates are driven by a sense of duty and want to do what’s best for their communities and neighbors. I encourage you to get to know them and cast your vote for them. No matter which candidates you support, we must never take for granted the right to decide who will represent us.

—Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.