After an especially brutal winter, spring has finally arrived.
As another growing season approaches, Tuesday has been set as National Ag Day by the Agriculture Council of America.
The council designates the week within which it falls as National Ag Week. This important time to celebrate agriculture begins today and runs through Saturday.
One goal of Ag Day is to recognize the contribution agriculture makes in the lives of all of us. The council sponsors and encourages programs during Ag Week that help Americans understand:
how food and fiber products are produced,
the essential role of agriculture in the economy, and
the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
While it seems unlikely that many Iowans need to be reminded that agriculture is vital to this state, this is a good time to recall just how impressive American agriculture truly has become.
According to the ACA, each of this country's farmers feeds more than 144 people - up from 25 people just four decades ago. That's very good news for Americans, but also for hungry people everywhere.
This country produces far more agricultural products than Americans can consume. The resulting exports help offset trade deficits in other areas of the economy. In fact, agricultural products are this country's No. 1 export. One in three U.S. farm acres is planted for export.
The agricultural sector in the United States has become incredibly efficient at producing a wide array of products. Americans spend less on food than people in any other developed nation. The ACA says we Americans spend only 2 percent of our disposable income on meat and poultry. As recently as 1970, it was 4.1 percent.
With the planet's population projected to grow to 7.5 billion by 2020, people everywhere have good reason to give thanks for the magnificent success story that is American agriculture.