‘Food for Life’, National Ag Day celebrated on March 20
Across the country, the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) invites food and fiber producers to celebrate the 45th anniversary of National Ag Day on March 20. The event is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country, and in 2018, organizations are uniting for agriculture under the theme, “Agriculture: Food for Life.”
“We know food and fiber doesn’t just arrive at the grocery or clothing store or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet,” says ACA. “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.”
ACA adds, “We rely on agriculture for the necessities of life. From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world.”
National Ag Day, which falls during the middle of National Ag Week, March 18-24, is about recognizing and celebrating contributions of ag in the everyday lives of Americans, says ACA.
“Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people – a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s,” they add. “Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more – and doing it better.”
On March 20, ACA will host major events in the nation’s capital, including an event at the National Press Club, as well as a Taste of Agriculture Celebration. ACA also bring nearly 100 college students to Washington, D.C. on National Ag Day to deliver the message of agriculture.
“These events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us,” ACA explains. “A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate.”
This year, Vice President Mike Pence will offer remarks during the event.
ACA, an non-profit organization comprised of leaders in the ag, food and fiber community, dedicates its efforts to the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. The group emphasizes that National Ag Day encourages Americans to understand how food and fiber products are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and acknowledge and consider career opportunities related to agriculture.
Annually, to celebrate National Ag Day, ACA hosts two student contests – an essay writing contest and video contest – asking young people to celebrate the theme chosen for the day.
This year, Rio Bonham of Tishomingo, Okla. had the winning entry in the essay contest and will receive a $1,000 prize and travel to Washington, D.C. to celebrate National Ag Day. In his essay, Bonham presented a story where children of a rural community go visit career day at their local school, then head to lunch, where one child suggested chocolate milks comes from brown cows.
“Although this scenario may seemed far-fetched, the reality remains that agriculture lies outside many of the young minds that will make up the future of this nation. Even in a small town in Oklahoma, agriculture remains obscure to young adults,” Bonham writes, adding that though many assume an understanding of agriculture is integral in the community. “There is a substantial disconnect between the current high school generation and the generation that produces the world’s food. This disconnect could prove to place a strain on the world’s food supply in the coming years.”
He continues, “From the jeans they wear, to the E-10 they put in their car, to every single thing they eat or drink, high schoolers must not only understand but appreciate all that agriculture produces for them.”
Finally, Bonham suggested that it is the responsibility of the agriculture industry to educate future generations about the industry “in a way that will ignite a passion to carry on the legacy that is American agriculture.”
“The minds of next generation must look forward to the agriculture booth at their next career fair,” Bonham adds. “That is the only way agriculture will be able to feed the world and it must start today.”
Farmers, ranchers and agri-businessmen and women in Wyoming are no stranger to the fact that agriculture is the third largest industry supporting the state’s economy.
Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director Doug Miyamoto comments, “We rank in the top 10 in the United States for barley, dry edible beans, sugarbeets, sheep and lambs, and wool production.”
Cattle production is often top of mind when it comes to the strength of the ag industry in the state, he notes, adding that cattle operations in Wyoming account for $897 million of the state’s total $1.72 billion in economic impact from the ag industry.
However, Miyamoto also adds that sheep and hog producers, as well as honey producers and commodity growers, are integral in supporting the state’s economy.
“Along with being an important economic driver in our state, the agriculture industry in Wyoming plays a key role in other industries, as well,” Miyamoto adds, citing wildlife habitat, hunting opportunities, energy development and open spaces are supported through agriculture.
“On this Ag Day, take some time to visit with and thank the farmers and ranchers of Wyoming,” Miyamoto encourages. “Their contributions to this great state go beyond the food and fiber we all need to survive. Their impact is seen every day if we just look around.”
Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.