Ag Biz: Take time to thank a farmer

Published on Saturday, 28 December 2013 22:23 - Written by By Chad Gulley Extension Agent

Across America and right here in Texas, we have a lot to be thankful for. We are all involved in agriculture if we eat, wear clothes or have roofs over our heads throughout most of the day. While most of us are consumers of agriculture, take time to thank a farmer because without their hard work, we would be without the necessities of life — food, fiber and shelter.

Texas is one of the nation’s top states in total Agriculture production. Below are the top 10 reasons to thank a farmer:

No 10: Americans spend only 10 percent of their incomes on food. This is the lowest percentage of any country.

No 9: The world’s population will grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Farmers will need to double food production to keep pace. Technology is not a negative in food production. By using technology and research, our farmers and ranchers can produce a safe food supply today that is also environmentally friendly using less water, less fuel, fewer pesticides, and higher yields. Technology does not take away from sustainability but enhances it.

No 8: Only 210,000 full-time U.S. farmers produce 80 percent of our food and fiber. Farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land. They take care of their land, livestock, and crops. It’s a fact that you must properly care for your animals in order for them to be productive, which is exactly what ranchers do on a daily basis. U.S. farmers were going green well before going green was cool.

No 7: Most farms are family owned enterprises. These farmers brave exceptional risk and tight margins. Farming and ranching are professions in which you do not get days off for bad weather and they usually do not have set hours. Many farmers and ranchers work long hours from sunrise to sunset and do not stop just because it is raining, snowing, or a holiday.

No 6: For every dollar spent on food, farmers receive less than 12 cents for the raw products. The cotton shirt, leather shoes and wool coat you wear, wood chair you sit on and cereal you enjoy for breakfast all begin with agriculture.

No 5: The average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people. Farmers have always looked for ways to preserve their resources, such as water and land, because they depend on these resources to operate. Farmers and ranchers live on the land they farm. They breathe the air, drink the water, and depend on the land for their livelihood.

No 4: U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world’s corn. Supporting domestic agriculture prevents us from relying on foreign food sources where safety standards may be less rigid.

No 3: Agriculture employs more than 24 million Americans, making agriculture one of the leading employers across our country. In Texas, that equates to 1 of every 7 working Texans (14 percent) employed in an ag-related job. Young people should consider agriculture as a career choice as they decide on their future.

No 2: Farmers endure drought, heat, rain, wind, snow, hail and tornadoes to bring food to America’s tables. Farmers and ranchers are also consumers and they are dedicated to producing a safe and wholesome product for your dinner table and theirs.

No 1: Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable, and among the safest. Farming and ranching families are responsible and devoted to the future of food production in America. The agriculture industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in our country. There are multiple safeguards in place to ensure the safety of our food. The fact that we’ve had recalls says we have high standards in place that require food to be checked several times before reaching the consumer and even after it hits the retail market. The system works. Take time to thank a farmer today.

Information also provided by Texas Proud of Texas Agriculture at Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.