In late August, Joe Smentek, executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, joined more than 30 state and national agricultural organizations representing farm, commodity and agribusiness communities in an Op-Ed to promote vaccination among farmers and other rural Americans.
In an open letter to association members, the organizations added another voice to the call to get vaccinated. In addition, the groups utilized an opinion editorial published in the Des Moines Register to share a message about the important connection between agriculture, science and health.
The effort is in response to the continued challenge of the COVID-19 Delta variant cases increasing precipitously among the unvaccinated populations across the country. Many rural communities have been hit hard by the Delta variant, which has stressed healthcare systems and threatens to greatly impact those we depend on for a safe food system.
Agricultural leaders are asking farmers to protect their health and their communities by getting vaccinated saying, “Farmers make science-based decisions every day to protect their farms and their communities – they should make these same decisions to protect their health as well.”
Smentek said he was pleased to place his name alongside American Farm Bureau Association CEO Zippy Duvall, National Milk Producers Federation Chairman Randy Mooney and American Soybean Association CEO Steve Censky.
“I’m proud to have my name on this letter alongside national leaders like Zippy Duvall and Stephen Censky and my colleagues from other state soybean associations,” Smentek said. “I support science-based decisions, and the science shows these vaccines are the quickest way to get back to normal.”
MSGA president Mike Skaug says he also supports the push among commodity groups to increase the vaccination rate in rural America.
“As a lifelong farmer and Minnesotan, I encourage my fellow farmers to roll up their sleeves for their family, friends and communities,” MSGA President Mike Skaug said. “This is all about the greater good.”