Well, in an effort to get back into the swing of keeping up my writing (yes, I’ve done a horrible job of keeping up), here is another post…about time, I know! Thank you for your patience…
First things first: “What is National Ag Day” you ask? The simple version: is a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the food, fiber, fuel and feed provided by those in agriculture. People involved everywhere in the process get together every year across the U.S. to recognize those contributions. It is celebrated during National Ag Week in March every year to remind all of us the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.
It is easy to talk about and commemorate something the day of celebration. For example, how many of you are excited on the day of your birthday and remember each wonderful year with your family or friends? And often times, most of the days during the rest of the year we forget to celebrate and be thankful for each day of life we have been given. So this post is my “attempt” at challenging you to make an active effort to look for and discover how agriculture is influencing your everyday life more than just a day or week out of the year.
Some ways are easy. Yes, we all eat food and that food has to be grown from seed to food SOMEWHERE. It doesn’t just pop up on the grocery store shelves or at a farmer’s market out of thin air. But what about the clothes we wear? How do we get some of our energy? Did you know some of your car or bus parts are made from things grown in my fields? Do you enjoy hunting and rely on a rural area to find your target? These are just a few questions to get the ball rolling on discovering agriculture in our daily lives.
Then there are careers and jobs that also have a hand in the agriculture process. There are the obvious ones: farm production, agribusiness management and marketing, agricultural research and engineering or food science. How about the bankers who have jobs (largely in rural areas) because of farmers? Or do you like to be involved in the markets and trading? Are you involved in science, biology or pathology? Are you a retailer or do you process grain, food or feed? Do you work at a grocery store or gas station or restaurant? Maybe you work at the local Macy’s selling clothing? Do you do landscape architecture or urban planning? Teachers, construction, nurses, etc…all can lay a claim to be involved in agriculture to some respect.
My point is this: we spend all this time, effort and money to work up to one big day where we commemorate and celebrate something that influences our everyday lives. Yes, we need a reminder. And yes, we should thank farmers for what they do same as we should thank everyone. But why not make an effort to recognize and understand something as involved as agriculture? Let this be a year where we challenge ourselves to reach out to a farmer or rancher and discover what it is they do. They have some understanding of many of those areas we discussed and can answer so many questions honestly and openly if you’re willing to ask and listen. Don’t celebrate the day and forget to be thankful for what agriculture provides us each day (or at least aim for thinking about it once a week?).
As I (finally) end my rant, I want to leave you with some miscellaneous statistics and a few resources if you’re interested in exploring for yourself. Or, shoot me or a farmer you know some questions/thoughts if you’d like! I’m happy to help. Happy agriculture daily walk to each of you!
A few stats to get you started…
- National Ag Day celebration began 42 years ago, at a time when people were more closely connected directly to a farmer or rancher via family or friends. Today, less than two percent of Americans farm & ranch and majority of the remaining American people are at least three generations removed from the farm.
- Agriculture is the single largest employer in the WORLD.
- Ever heard of the corporate farm scare? Well, I’m excited to share that 97% of all American farms are FAMILY OWNED! J
- A single farm feeds about 155 people, amazing huh?
- How many loaves of bread can be made from a bushel of wheat? About 90!
- Using less land, water, energy and fewer emissions, farmers today produce about twice the amount of food as their parents were able to do.
A few resources to get you started on your road of discovery…
- Agriculture in the classroom: https://www.agclassroom.org/#
- Websites for kids, students and teachers via Ag Day website: https://www.agday.org/helpful-websites
- General food information infographics: https://www.ams.usda.gov/resources/infographics-data-visualizations
- Ag exports infographic: https://www.fas.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2016-11/fy2016.jpg
- United Nations Food & Ag Organization: http://www.fao.org/climate-change/resources/infographics/en/
- Detailed data & statistics: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Data_and_Statistics/
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18