Kentucky Farm Bureau celebrates National Agriculture Day, March 19Posted on Mar 13, 2013
“The commitment, hard work and innovation of our farmers provides us with a stable supply of high-quality, affordable food,” said KFB President Mark Haney. “National Agriculture Day is an excellent opportunity for all Americans to learn more about the farmers who contribute so much to our nation’s prosperity and quality of life.”
Farmers in the United States continue to produce the safest, most abundant and lowest-cost food supply of any nation in the world. Because agriculture also provides components of almost everything people eat, use and wear on a daily basis – and is increasingly contributing to consumer demand for alternative fuels and other bio-products – organizers of the National Ag Day program believe that every American should:
- understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced
- value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
- appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
- acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.
Although the number of farms in the United States has steadily declined over the years, agricultural production continues to meet the needs of a growing American and global population. Today’s farmers grow twice as much food as their parents did, but use less land, water and energy to do so. About 90 percent of those farms are still operated by families or individuals today.
Additionally, an estimated 20 percent of U.S. farm production is exported to other nations and, according to government statistics, agriculture is one of the few remaining industries with a positive balance of trade. This production comes from the 2.2 million farms currently operating in America and accounts for more than 24 million jobs nationwide.
Kentucky’s economy is strongly supported by agriculture as well. Only four other states have more farms than the 87,000 found in Kentucky, and farming accounts for more than 270,000 jobs statewide. According to recent analysis conducted by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the Commonwealth experienced record highs in 2012 with $5.3 billion in farm cash receipts.
Healthy as Kentucky and American ag production is, the amount of exported goods from the U.S. will need to increase even more if global demand for its food and fiber continues at the current pace. It is projected that the world’s population will grow by one-third its current size to an anticipated 9 billion people by the year 2050. With that kind of rapid growth, full support of the country’s agricultural producers is needed.
“Feeding people has always been the central role of farmers,” said Haney, “but feeding a growing world population while the amount of farmland is simultaneously shrinking is a real challenge. Appreciating, understanding and partnering with the ag community will be necessary at all levels of society if we are to meet these increasing demands.”
Haney, who operates an orchard and cattle farm in Pulaski County, said he hopes National Agriculture Day’s promotion of farmers will entice more people to educate themselves about what farmers do.
“Agricultural education should not just be for those who choose to pursue farming or agribusiness as a career,” concluded Haney. “A broader understanding of agriculture leads naturally to a greater appreciation of the safe and abundant food supply we have all come to enjoy.”
Additional information about the purpose and history of National Agriculture Day is available at agday.org.