March 14th, is National Ag Day. In the past 100 years our organization has certainly seen changes in ag. From the horse and buggy days, to modern agricultural practices including technology to utilize efficiency. In the mere 22 years since I was hired into the Farm Bureau system I have seen many changes but there is one constancy. Farmers care for their animals, care for their land, and care about producing a safe, bountiful harvest each year.
Today they are criticized more than ever while their mission has not changed. With more and more media outlets, and people falling into a believe what you see and hear … we as a society have questioned what we don’t understand. Why don’t we understand? We are farther and farther removed from the farm. I was raised on a farm until I was 14. So just myself, I have not lived on a farm in nearly thirty years! Yikes, putting a number behind that was kind of scary as it doesn’t seem that long. While Tucker has ridden in a combine, he would not have a clue how to handle livestock. For me, it was second nature to jump out in the pen with the cattle or hogs. This makes anything he reads easy to believe. Isn’t everything on Facebook and the internet true? So telling the story about farming and ag has now become a big priority for our farmers. Remember they are feeding the same food to their family that you are to yours. None of us want to put our families at risk for anything.
One U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced.
2.1 million farms dot America’s rural landscape. About 99 percent of U.S. farms are operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.
Farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population.
Total U.S. corn yield (tons per acre) has increased more than 360 percent since 1950.
Women make up 30 percent (969,672) of the total number of U.S. farm operators.
About 25 percent of U.S. farm products by value are exported each year.
About 8 percent of U.S. farms market foods locally, through direct-to-consumer or intermediated sales.
Cattle and calves, corn, and dairy products are the top 3 U.S. farm products.
Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable overall and among the world’s safest, thanks in large part to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families.
So, on March 14th, if you get the opportunity, thank a farmer. They put in long hours in miserable conditions, thanks mother nature and Illinois, to provide us with a safe food supply that is affordable.