U.S. celebrates agriculture industry during National Ag Day
On March 21, the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) encourages American to celebrate National Ag Day with the theme, “Agriculture: Food for Life.”
“Ag Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture,” says ACA. “Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.”
National Ag Day falls in the midst of National Ag Week, which is March 19-25.
“ACA hosts the campaign on a national level. However, the awareness efforts in communities across America are as influential, if not more, than the broad-scale effort,” they continue.
2017 marks the 44th anniversary of National Ag Day, which marks, “over 40 years of recognizing agriculture’s role in American life, and that’s certain an achievement worth celebrating,” ACA adds.
“We know that food and fiber doesn’t just arrive at the grocery or clothing store or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet,” they continue. “There’s an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption, as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices.”
“We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life,” ACA notes. “From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and other around the world.”
On National Ag Day, ACA hosts major events in Washington, D.C., including a breakfast event at the National Press Club and a Taste of Agriculture celebration on Capitol Hill.
Additionally, ACA brings approximately 100 college students to Washington to deliver the message of Ag Day.
In addition to celebrating the value of the agriculture industry, ACA also notes that ag literacy is another area of emphasis during National Ag Day and National Ag Week.
“It’s important to recognize and celebrate Ag Day each year,” ACA comments. “Americans need to understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives.”
Further, they noted that as agriculture is recognized and celebrated, increased knowledge about the industry, as well as about food nutrition, allows American to make more informed food decisions as it relates to the diet and health, and an informed citizen base can positively affect policies related to food and fiber production to support a competitive agriculture industry.
Formal education should also include agriculture education, ACA asserts, noting, “Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of student in agriculture and pursuing vocational agriculture studies.”
In Wyoming, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers emphasize ag literacy through their Wyoming Ag Literacy week, celebrated the week of March 9 this year. The week includes coloring, poster and essay contests and is celebrated across the state.
Working in agriculture
ACA further emphasizes that careers in agriculture are vast and extend beyond what many people think of traditionally.
“The most obvious careers are directly related to the farm or ranch,” they comment, adding that approximately 22 million people work in agriculture-related fields.
“Employment opportunities exist across the board in agriculture,” ACA adds, noting that farm production, business management, marketing, research, engineering, food science, education, urban planning, energy and more all impact the agriculture industry.
Mission of ag day
“ACA believes that every American should understand how food and fiber products are produced and appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products,” ACA said. “Additionally, Americans should value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy and acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.”
They accomplish these goals by conducting National Agriculture Day and supporting and encouraging activities to promote the event. They also provide planning information and material and involved the media in the event to increase awareness of the agriculture industry and the event.
Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns comments, “Our farmers and ranchers, they are enormously resilient. They have endured hurricanes, floods and droughts and yet they continue to provide the food and fiber for our nation and for our trading partners.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.