Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Celebrate AG Day 2013

It’s National Ag Day!

Are you celebrating? 

Should we make a cake?  
Blondie made this one to enter in the county fair years ago.

Have a party?  Nothing says party quite like a John Deere cake!

What about a parade? The annual fireman’s parades always make me think of Ag…what with all the vintage tractors that participate. But, parade season doesn't start 'til May.
Tbone and Blondie-Fireman's parade '09

Ag Day is being observed across the nation today. It is a day set aside to recognize the essential role that agriculture plays in all our lives.

Do you have any idea what I am talking about? Have you got any idea just how essential AGRICULTURE is to everyday life?

Here’s a little bit about Ag Day.

The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) is an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture's vital role in our society. The Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was started in 1973.

Core Values
ACA believes that EVERY American should:
 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.

It always surprises me how very little folks actually know about food and the farmers who produce that food.  Of course, farmers are involved in fiber and fuel production as well.  You would be hard-pressed to think of an activity or a product that don’t have some tie to agriculture. But, it's not just about food, fiber and fuel.  We're talking everything!
The cow inhabitants of our county are only outnumbered by poultry 
Agriculture is the NUMBER ONE industry here in the Old Dominion, providing something like 357,000 jobs and utilizing around 8 million acres. It would seem that everybody would know somebody who is involved with agriculture and that lots of folks would be looking forward to recognizing such an important influence in so many lives.  However, I am going to guess that the date will go largely unnoticed…which is more than a little sad.

As a farmer, I can tell you that personal recognition is awesome.  Since we direct-market everything we grow, we get that positive (and occasionally NOT so positive) feedback on a regular basis.  But, those farmers who don’t have the opportunity to meet the consumers, either because they grow commodity crops or don’t direct market, miss out on that contact with the end user.  I think that it is this lack of connection that allows the horrible mis-information to run rampant across the internet and gives rise to urban myths causing consumers to become frightened and distrusting of the very folks who feed and clothe them.  It is hoped that the focus of Ag day might just open up a few conversations and make a few new connections.  Take the time to learn more.   

As a consumer, it is crucial that I have some idea of what I am buying. Talking to farmers helps me to understand just what goes into the products we use on a daily basis. Personally, I have learned immensely from other farmers, particularly those who run operations that are different than ours.  I have yet to meet a farmer who isn’t proud of what he/she does for a living and every single one has been glad to answer questions and even give advice.

So, I hope that as you go about your daily routine today, you will pause a minute and think about all those hardworking folks who made all that stuff you use possible.  The lifestyles we all enjoy are possible only because some farmer somewhere worked hard producing food, fiber and fuel.

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