One of America's most well-known agricultural leaders is back at work this week after battling the coronavirus.
To farm country, he’s known as Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
Duvall, a farmer and policy leader, stands out for his optimistic attitude and uplifting conversations and speeches. He’s a man of positivity, just recently adjusting to a new title: a COVID-19 survivor.
AgDay National Reporter Betsy Jibben asks, “How are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling great now,” says Duvall. “It took about 16 days for the symptoms to go away. My temperature spiked about three different times. Right now, I’m focusing on trying to regain my strength.”
He noticed the disease symptoms pretty quickly.
“You may think your breathing is good, but you need to go get your lungs checked if you come down with it,” says Duvall.
Zippy will be the first to say it’s been a difficult 2020. He also lost his wife earlier in the year.
“Losing your wife after 40 years is probably the most difficult thing I’ve been through in my life,” says Duvall. “[She was] one of those women that would have followed me to the edge of the Earth, and I would have followed her, too.”
Dealing with the coronavirus without her has not made things any easier. He believes he may have contracted it through a family member who was visiting during the Fourth of July. During the visit, the family member found out a co-worker had tested positive who potentially contracted the virus at a baseball tournament.
“You never think about it coming to you through your family,” says Duvall. “We love our children, but we need to question them about where they’ve been and whether or not they’ve worn protective gear.”
Jibben asks, “Do you have a message for some folks who are experiencing the same thing you
Duvall says, “COVID is a real thing. You know, it’s a pretty easy thing to wear a mask when you get around people, going to the grocery store or Home Depot.”
Duvall says the United States needs its economy back, and people need to return to work.
“The only way to do that is yield to (what) they’re telling us to do – wear protective gear and try to distance from folks,” says Duvall. “That’s a hard thing to do. I know. I’m trying to get out a little bit, but I still wear a mask.”
Duvall says he expects to make a full recovery.
“I’m getting up and feeling good,” he says. “A cup of coffee tastes good in the morning. My taste buds are going back to work!”
Picture/video courtesy: American Farm Bureau Federation and Zippy Duvall, Facebook