News - National Agriculture Week
- March 15, 2011
Kentucky Farm Bureau urges Kentuckians to learn more about farmers and how farming contributes to the nation’s prosperity as National Agriculture Week is observed March 13-19. This annual recognition of farmers and agribusinesses is aimed at drawing attention to how America’s food system improves the quality of life for everyone. The United States has the safest, most abundant and lowest-cost food supply of any nation as a result of the incredible production and efficiency of its farmers.
Although the number of farms has steadily declined over the years, agricultural production continues to meet the needs of Americans, as well as many consumers abroad. An estimated 30 percent of U.S. farm production is exported. Agriculture, in fact, is one of the few industries with a positive balance of trade, according to government statistics.
Agriculture also is one of the leading sectors of Kentucky’s economy, accounting for more than $42 billion in annual economic activity plus more than 270,000 jobs, according to a University of Kentucky survey.
“The commitment, hard work and innovation of our farmers provides us with a stable supply of high quality, affordable food,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney. “National Agriculture Week 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.”
Agriculture generates 20 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and accounts for more than 24 million jobs. Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as his or her parents did, but uses less land, water and energy to do so. About 90 percent of U.S. farms are operated by families or individuals.
Only four states have more farms than the 87,000 in Kentucky. In 2009 Kentucky farmers sold crops and livestock for more than $4.2 billion.
Haney, who operates an orchard and cattle farm in Pulaski County, said he hopes National Agriculture Week’s promotion of farmers will entice more people to educate themselves about what farmers do.
“Unfortunately, we’ve found that there are some troubling misconceptions about farm production,” Haney said. “Many people believe their food comes from massive factory-like operations run by huge corporations. That’s simply not true. And contrary to beliefs, farmers aren’t mistreating their animals nor poisoning the planet and your food with chemicals.
“Objective, scientific information is available about livestock and crop production. We urge people to seek the facts, rather than form opinions based on claims from special interest groups with an agenda.”