Today is National Farmer’s Day
It’s a good time to remember agriculture’s contributions
Today has been designated as National Farmer’s Day. It’s the contemporary event to honor the hard work of America’s farmers and to reflect on their important contribution to not only the success of our nation but to helping feed the world far beyond America’s borders.
The event grows out of an event that began long ago called Old Farmer’s Day. That observance began at a time when many more Americans were directly working in agriculture. The selection of Oct. 12 for National Farmer’s Day is a reflection that by then many harvest activities have occurred or are nearing a conclusion. With a growing season at an end, it’s a good time to recognize the contribution agriculture makes in the lives of all of us.
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 Agriculture Council of America, 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.