If you’re like many Americans, the answer is the grocery store. And frankly, that disturbs me. 

The grocery store isn’t where food comes from – it is just from where it is distributed. In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives… and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table. 

You, I and 163 other people ate today because of one American farmer... a dramatic increase from 19 people in the 1940s. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more - and doing it better. 

Agriculture is this nation’s number one export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy. A majority of us know our food and fiber don’t just arrive at the grocery or clothing store… or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet. There is an entire industry dedicated to providing consumers with the safest, most wholesome and nutritious products possible… as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. 

We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life. From beef and pork to cotton and wheat, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world. The role of farmers will become even more critical with the exploding world population. 

Today, approximately 7.4 billion people call earth their home. By 2050, the population is projected to reach 9.7 billion and 11.2 billion by 2100 (UN DESA, 2015a, p.3). Growth in the human population is mainly a product of declining mortality from improvements in food production, medication, sanitation, and energy sources. 

And it’s not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industry, all the way to the grocery store, are vital links in a chain which brings food to every consumer - and millions of people abroad. Frankly, it’s easy to take agriculture for granted in America. 

Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we’re unbelievably fortunate…but that doesn’t mean we don’t have an obligation to recognize how it’s made possible. 

Just a few generations ago, most people were a part of - and had friends or relatives involved with - agriculture. Today, that’s no longer the case. 

That’s why I’m writing, because agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of life… food, fiber, and fuel. And it’s about time Americans recognize that contribution! Americans continue to enjoy a food, fiber and fuel supply which 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. 

We officially recognize our farmers and all they do to make our lives better during Agriculture Week, March 10-16, 2019, hosted by The Agriculture Council of America (www.agday.org). Agriculture Week is a good time to reflect - and be grateful for - American Agriculture! This marks a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American Agriculture and remind consumers, agriculture is a part of all of us. Be part of America’s Agriculture, if even just for one day. Take a drive in the country with your family, as there is no prettier green than winter wheat fields waking from winter dormancy. And give a big wave if you see a farmer. I guarantee they’ll wave back. Happy Agriculture Week! #AgDay365

 

- Lesley Schmidt, American Agri Women