Posted on Mar 21, 2017
Before you read this, go into your kitchen and count how many different food products you have in your refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, flour, breads, snacks - anything!
What was your number?
No matter how many food products you have in your kitchen, all of the them were produced by the oldest, most important industry in the world - agriculture.
The Oxford Dictionary defines agriculture as the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool and other products. Not only does this include most of the food in your kitchen, but many of your household articles are a byproduct of agricultural goods, too.
Today is National Ag Day - a day to celebrate agriculture and American farmers. Every day, farmers work hard to produce the food we get to enjoy on our plates every day.
There are currently more than two million farmers across America who only account for approximately two percent of the U.S. population. Nearly 99 percent of farms are family owned and operated.
The American Farm Bureau Federation indicates today’s farmers produce 262 percent more food with two percent fewer resources compared to the 1950s.
The agriculture industry contributed $985 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2014, and certainly plays an essential role in the global economy. More than 20 percent of U.S. agricultural goods were exported in 2016, valued at $130 billion. In the case of sorghum, U.S. farmers exported 339 million bushels during the 2015/2016 marketing year, valued at $1.68 billion.
Sorghum farmers strive to do more with less. They are conservation-minded and work to preserve natural resources like water. In fact, sorghum uses up to one-third less water to grow than comparable crops. Stalks left over after sorghum harvest also help to reduce soil erosion and enhance soil organic matter.
Today and every day, we are thankful for the farmers who work hard to provide the food and fiber that help fuel the world. Let’s celebrate them and show our appreciation.