America Celebrates Agriculture March 8

Today — Thursday, March 8 — is the 39th anniversary of National Ag Day, appropriately the same day that I post my weekly blog dedicated to the agriculture industry.

Deservedly, agriculture has its own day in recognition of what it provides to our country and its residents.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). ACA is a nonprofit organization of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society. ACA developed a video to promote its important mission.

The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry

According to Dean Bev Durgan of the Minnesota University Extension:

“We are living in a time of record land prices and good profits from agriculture. Today, agriculture employs 14 percent of the U.S. workforce and agricultural graduates have multiple job offers. There is an increased recognition of the importance of farmers and food. Even Bill Gates, the second-richest person in the world, is now devoting his wealth toward improving agricultural productivity.”

Though those of us active with the industry understand its significance, there is still much work to be done to educate consumers about the role of ranching and farming to sustaining and supporting American people and the U.S. economy.

“Not only do we need to teach consumers about farming, but those of us who work in agriculture need to continually upgrade our knowledge,” said Durgan.

Diane Gress from Shreve, Ohio, won the 2012 Ag Day Video Essay Contest and importantly noted during her video, “Most consumers do not realize the importance of agriculture to their everyday lives. In reality, from tomatoes to T-shirts, agriculture provides a myriad of products that consumers never connect to agricultural production.”

The consumer education process beings with American youth. Countrywide programs are essential to increase awareness of the necessity of the industry and range from state Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H groups, to national efforts such as the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” campaign.

It’s been widely reported that farmers and ranchers will be responsible for feeding more than 9 billion people by 2050, more than the current 144 people each farmer is currently responsible for feeding.

ACA describes American agriculture best — “abundant, affordable, amazing.” So today, I urge you to honor a member of the industry.

Are you doing your part to educate friends, family and acquaintances about the role of agriculture?

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