ISA building

ISA CEO Kirk Leeds joined nearly 30 other ag group leaders urging rural Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19. (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

ISA, ag groups encourage rural Americans to roll up their sleeves

September 2, 2021 | Bethany Baratta

In an open letter to its members, agricultural organizations, including the Iowa Soybean Association, are urging rural Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“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,” the letter reads.

ISA CEO Kirk Leeds joined 29 other ag organization leaders in the letter.

"For an industry that believe in vaccines and believes in science, to have a significant number of farmers and ag people not get the vaccine is kind of perplexing to me,” Leeds said.

Last year the ag industry experienced the effects of COVID-19 as it impacted workers, creating bottlenecks in the supply chain. A COVID-19 vaccination  can help prevent future impacts to the supply chain.

And to Leeds and ISA, it’s personal.

“We have experienced the death of a farmer on our board due to COVID-19, so it’s personal,” Leeds said. “He didn’t have the chance to get vaccinated; one wasn’t available yet.”

The decision to receive the vaccination is an individual choice, Leeds says. He understands individuals can still get sick if they’re vaccinated, but the benefits outweigh the potential outcomes if left unvaccinated.

“I want people to be safe and I want people to get vaccinated when it makes sense,” he added. “I want us to be safe—I want to protect our people and our industry.”

“You know how powerful an individual decision can be,” the letter says. “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.”

Read the letter here: Rural vaccination letter to members.pdf