Thank a Farmer!
Last week (March 13-19, 2011) was National Agriculture Week in the United States, with March 15, 2011, designated as National Agriculture Day. This is a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, agencies, and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by Agriculture. The National Ag Day program is committed to increasing public awareness about American agriculture. Incidentally, National Agriculture Week always coincides with the first day of spring.
As the world population soars, there is even greater demand for the food and fiber that the United States farmer produces. American agriculture must meet global needs for food and fiber now and in the future.
Here are few facts about American agriculture:
- 2.2 million: At the end of 2009, there were 2,200,010 farms in the United States, a loss of 90 farms from the previous year. This translates into a $200 billion industry.
- 54.4 percent: In 2007, the majority of U.S. farms were smaller than 100 acres.
- 4.8 million acres: Between 2006 and 2008, the country gained almost 2 million acres of certified organic farmland. The certification process is lengthy and time consuming. If you prefer organic vegetables, talk to your farmer. Ask him about his farming practices. There are growers who follow organic practices but are too small of an operation to afford the governmental processes.
- 12 percent: Americans only consume a small amount of the corn produced here every year. The majority — around 80 percent- – of the United States corn crop is used to feed livestock, poultry and fish throughout the world.
- 24 to 26 hours: The amount of time it takes a hen to produce an egg, starting the process all over again about 30 minutes after laying. The next time you’re enjoying a three-egg omelet remember: it took a chicken more than three days to make your breakfast.
- 5 cents: Is farming a high-profit enterprise? The average farmer receives approximately 5 cents from every loaf of bread you buy. The last time I checked the price of Wonder Bread at the grocery store, it was almost $2 a loaf. Who gets the other $1.95?
- 2 million: Honey bees are hard workers. In order to make one pound of honey, they have to visit 2 million flowers. Buying your honey from local producers keeps money in the local economy and is better for your health. If you suffer from allergies, those same pollens that cause your itchy eyes and sneezing will become part of your honey, helping to build immunity.
So if you have abundant food on your table and do not go to bed hungry, thank a farmer. The American Agricultural industry is perhaps one of the most important in the world!