Tensions are high in the country. Extreme weather, trade uncertainty and low commodity prices increase farmers' stress. This was more evident than ever during this week's Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, Farm Journal's annual crop review. A USDA employee in agricultural statistics, who was scheduled to speak at one of the tour's events, received a threat on the phone. In response, the USDA withdrew its employees from the remaining days of the trip.
“An employee of the USDA agricultural statistics received a threat while on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour from someone not involved in the tour. As a precaution, we immediately withdrew all employees from the incident, says Hubert Hamer, CEO of Agricultural Statistics (NASS), in a statement. “Federal Protective Services was contacted to investigate the incident. The safety of our employees is our top priority. "
The threat, which was not directed at NASS Crops Branch Chief Lance Honig as anyone has speculated, came from a person in Iowa who was not affiliated with the incident. The threat was unrelated to the Crop Tour and was not affiliated with scouts or other attendees .
"For 27 years, the Pro Farmer Crop Tour has been a public service in favor of agriculture, in good times and bad. And it's clearly a stressful time right now, CEO Andy Weber Farm Journal said in a statement. "From the moment we took this threat very seriously, we have taken every measure to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the trip."
Joel Jaeger, Pro Farmer CEO, said that more than 3,000 people are participating in the tour. "The safety of the scouts and the meeting is our top priority," Jaeger said. As a result, Pro Farmer and the parent company Farm Journal have increased security at all events for the rema week.
“Every threat must be taken seriously, so we have involved law enforcement to determine the viability of the threat. As a precaution, we are taking steps to secure the remaining locations, and adding security personnel to the live events, as well as asking staff and staff members to remain clear and report any concerns immediately, says Jaeger.
Listen as the guys discuss the situation on AgriTalk below.