National Ag Day 2013: A salute to farmers

National Ag Day 2013: A salute to farmers

Posted March 19, 2013

Today is National Agriculture Day in the United States. It’s a day to reflect and be grateful for those who grow and raise our abundant and safe food supply.

Thousands of hardworking Iowa farm families work diligently everyday to bring you the safest, most wholesome and affordable food found anywhere in the world. Each American farmer now feeds nearly 150 people in the U.S. and abroad, up from 25 people in the 1960s. And, farmers do it much differently than they did even 30 years ago. As with most other business and industry in the U.S., agriculture has evolved and is embracing new and emerging technologies in an effort to be as productive and efficient as possible to meet the nation’s and world’s growing food demands.

There are fewer people involved in producing our food today, but they are more productive while being more quality, safety and environmentally conscious. Farming is a business and highly specialized and while 98 percent of today’s farms are family owned, the vast majority of farms are run as a business. Many are incorporated. You may have heard some people refer to it as “big ag,” “factory farms” or “industrialized farming.” These are some of the favorite phrases people opposed to modern farming like to use.

A family farmer who raises 10,000 pigs and 500 beef cows a year, harvests 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans, uses computer and satellite technology, maintains a grain mill, owns a million dollars worth of modern farm implements and has his own trucks to haul livestock and grain may sound like “big ag,” but it’s simply life on the farm today. Farming today is not done by huge corporations. It’s done by real people, families who have deep roots in agriculture and wouldn’t do anything else for a living.

Many pork producers and other farmers today have college degrees, they seek out and receive continuing education, they maintain business plans, keep elaborate records, and use the Internet and Blackberrys to help run their farming enterprise. This is today’s farmer!

Farming has come a long ways since fields were plowed with a couple of horses and livestock suffered through the extreme elements of Mother Nature. Your food still comes from the farm, but it’s raised by hardworking men and women with greater efficiency thanks to decades of technological improvements.

Quite simply, Iowa farmers are doing more – and doing it better!

It’s easy for us to take agriculture for granted, so as you enjoy that next meal, take time to think about the men and women who produced your food and what it took to get it to your grocery store.