By Sarah Kern, Farm Loan Manager
They come in many forms – female and male, old and young. They come in many varieties – fish and sheep, soybeans and spinach, apple trees to mushrooms, cows and ostriches. They work in offices, fields, laboratories, factories, and in barns. They live in cities of thousands and townships of few. Some of them work nights, some work weekends, some work 12 hours shifts, seven days a week, and some work 9 to 5. They use tools like GPS, drones, shovels, pitchforks, hammers, laptops, and Facebook. But they all have something in common – they are all involved in agriculture. They are farmers, scientists, ranchers, chefs, crop adjusters, appraisers, mechanics, veterinarians, dieticiens, and butchers.
We celebrate Ag Week March 18- 24 and March 20 is National Ag Day. What does this mean? This is a week we recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Contributions are felt in our everyday lives – in what we eat, wear, and use on a daily basis. When you think about agriculture, you may think about pigs, cows, corn, or chickens. But agriculture encompasses so much more than that – the producer who raises the cattle for meat, the engineer who designs tractors, the plant scientist who develops disease resistant seeds, the grocer who fills her shelves with fresh produce, and the lender who makes producers loans to purchase seed, all of these jobs and so much more originate from agriculture. The cotton sheets we sleep on, the pillow filled with down goose feathers we lay our heads on, the couch frame you lounge on, linoleum floors made from soybean oil you walk on, crayons your children color with made from pig fat or soybeans, the blended fuel you put in your SUV; all got their start on a farm somewhere.
A challenge was put out to area students – they were asked “Why is Agriculture Important?” Students in the Buffalo High School agreed with me. The following are responses from some of the ninth and tenth grade Intro to Agriculture class essays:
“Agriculture is important because the world is based off of it and it helps keep us alive. It helps us provide food for people all over the world. It also includes jobs other than farming such as; fish farm manager, plant breeder/geneticist, and soil scientist.”
“It’s the way we live and if we didn’t have it, we would be naked and hungry.”
“Agriculture has many properties that we need on a daily basis like foods, drinks, and clothes. We are so lucky to have the technology the agriculture industry has because without that we would not be able to produce the amount of food we do today and we need that to be able to support the growing population.”
“Agriculture is important because without agriculture we wouldn’t be able to survive. It provides us with food to feed the world, clothing, fuels, and medicine. Agriculture provides a cleaner, better environment for people to live a healthy life on earth. It’s the science of how to make food better and feed our growing population.” “Agriculture was always thought of just being solely about farmers, but that is not the case actually. Agriculture provides a giant amount of employment opportunities including horticulture, animal science, environmental observation, and much more.” “The reason I say it gets people outside is because it teaches kids and some adults that there is more to life than phones and getting them doing hands on projects.”
“Agriculture is the single most important industry in the entire world. It provides us with food, materials to build everything we build. If it weren’t for our agricultural development, we would still be in the dark ages and without the basis of civilization. Family farms bring entire families together productively, while being self-sufficient and helping feed others, and logging provides wood for our homes and buildings. “
“The only reason we have food on this earth is because of the farmers who work long days and endless nights.”
Every day when I come to work, I am blessed to spend my days with people in my favorite profession – agriculture. Dwight D. Eisenhower said “farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” Having spent most of my life around farms, on a farm, living and working with farmers, I understand this quote is so true. I’d like to acknowledge that hard work – it takes physical labor, intelligence, diligence, and passion to work in the industry, especially as a producer. Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people and that is astonishing to me and so appreciated. Thank you to all producers out there and thank you to all in the ag industry for continuing to support a way of life and career field
– Happy Ag Week!