Agriculture groups were right to take a stand on US Capitol riots

Farmers Union, Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups were right to take a stand against the riots on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Agriculture needs to have a voice on matters of pressing interest to the general public.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington on Jan. 6. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/File Photo

Members of the National Farmers Union and America Farm Bureau Federation don’t always agree. But they, like many other patriotic Americans, found common ground after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Both groups — and a number of other ag organizations — have denounced the riots .

Farmers Union said “these acts of intimidation and terror have no place in this country, and they cannot be condoned or brushed aside.”

Farm Bureau, similarly, said in a statement that the U.S. was founded on the belief that differences can be resolved with debate.

“Storming the U.S. Capitol — or any federal building — and threatening the lives of police officers, first responders and elected leaders is not the answer," the statement said.

We agree, as should any red-blooded Americans, and we applaud all organizations that were willing to take a stand on the historic and distressing event. The attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on all of us. Agriculture has a proud tradition of supporting patriotic values, and standing up against attacks — including attacks from within — is an important way to carry on that tradition.


We’ve noticed that some in agriculture have denounced the groups’ denouncement of the riots, with messages that include the ever-popular, “stay in your lane,” or “stick to agriculture.”

Well, we believe, strongly, that protecting democracy and standing up for what is right is the responsibility of every citizen and every organization in this country, including agriculture organizations.

Let us not forget the important role that Congress — the very body that was violently threatened on Jan. 6 — plays in agriculture. They are the people who discuss and debate and pass the farm bill, which sets up programs that are used across agriculture. They are the ones who did the work to provide billions of dollars in relief for agriculture during the pandemic. They are the ones who work on conservation programs used by many farmers and ranchers, on crop insurance programs and on disaster assistance whenever a drought or a hurricane or a blizzard strike.

But beyond that, there are times in history when it is important to take a stand, and this is one of those times.

We understand that many in agriculture have strongly supported President Donald Trump, and that’s their right — when done peacefully.

But Trump lost in a fair election run by the individual states, with many of the elections run by Republicans. Courts have repeatedly backed up that fact, and the Republican members of Congress who voiced opposition to certifying President-elect Joe Biden, as well as Trump and the terrorists who stormed Congress, cannot change it. Changing the will of American voters would not be in keeping with the way our government works.

Standing up to what happened on Jan. 6 is about being an American, not a Republican or a Democrat. It is about the protection of the democracy of this country and the safety of the people in it — the very people agriculture seeks to feed and clothe.

If you think that ag groups should not take stands on social issues, fine. We all can have different opinions. But keep in mind that even issues that seem removed from agriculture may be important in the eyes of our consumers.


We welcome agriculture groups speaking out on issues. When it comes to important issues, all voices need to be heard.

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Related Topics: POLICY
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Mikkel Pates set the standard for agricultural journalism during his 44-year career in the region, working for Agweek, The Forum and the Worthington Globe.
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