Duvall, Higgins

Duvall talks about COVID-19 impact on nation’s farmers

Our Ohio Weekly recently visited with American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall to talk about the impact the coronavirus has had on the agriculture industry and AFBF’s response to it.

The interview started off on a personal note as Duvall spoke about his own battle with COVID-19. He caught it from his son, who unknowingly brought it home with him during a Fourth of July visit.

“I was doing all the right things,” Duvall said, which included working from home and wearing a mask when he was out in public running to the grocery or hardware store.

“You don’t think about your family, though, and who they may have been exposed to,” he said.

He was very ill for two weeks, noting that the virus is not like the flu.

“I’ve had the flu, but it was nothing like this,” he said. Headaches, body aches and three separate temperature spikes over a two-week period resulted in a 20-pound weight loss and a drop in energy which he said was starting to come back as his appetite returned in August.

Duvall cautioned everyone to wear a mask and follow the social distance and hygiene measures encouraged by doctors and lawmakers across the country.

Duvall talked about AFBF’s rapid response to the needs of members in the early days of the crisis, including working hard to ensure H2-A workers could make it into the country for the 2020 crop season. AFBF also checked in with the needs of Farm Bureau states through constant communication, as well as lobbying efforts for farmer access to the Paycheck Protection Program as well as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Lobbying continues for the CFAP program as new commodities are added routinely. A second round of CFAP funds was announced in September.

Through it all, and despite some bumps in the road, Duvall lauded farmers across the country for their resilience in the face of not only the virus, but volatile markets and at times adverse public opinion, calling their efforts to safely keep the food supply chain working “heroic.”

About Our Ohio Weekly

Our Ohio Weekly shares the story of Ohio agriculture and Ohio Farm Bureau. Each week, this radio program and podcast features guests who represent leaders in agriculture, government, academia and the food industry, among others. Host Ty Higgins talks to interesting guests and brings the story of Ohio agriculture to life by featuring Farm Bureau members and staff who are working hard all across Ohio.  

Our Ohio Weekly can be heard on 21 radio stations throughout Ohio, including 610 WTVN-AM in Columbus, as well as on many major podcast platforms like iHeart Radio.