Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Celebrate Spring and Ag Month!

The view of Mt. Rainier from the farm on a clear March day.
 The snow is melting, the sun is finally re-emerging and the official start of spring is just around the corner. Well, if you are here in the Pacific Northwest, it is still cloudy and rainy, but it is finally warming up a little bit.

Spring is a busy time for farm families. This is the time when farmers plant the seed for the corn, soybeans and other crops they will harvest in the fall. This is also a time when many cattlemen are busy with calving season—or in simple terms, their beef cows are having their baby calves.
Mark your calendars: March 19 is Ag Day! In fact, the entire month of March is designated as Agriculture Month, as well as Nutrition Month. These two are a natural fit. Our farmers provide wholesome nutrition for families across the nation each and every day—rain or shine.


So why is Ag Month important? Today, less than two percent of the American population is involved in agriculture, and the average American is three to four generations removed from the farm. So what does this mean? This means that each year fewer and fewer people have a good understanding of how their food is produced. But they are curious.

To help the general public better understand modern agriculture, many farmers open up their farms for tours. It’s also easier than ever for consumers to connect with farmers on social media.


Consider this: By 2050, we will need to double food production to feed the 9 billion people in the world. Yes, DOUBLE food production. This is no small task. Since there is not much land that isn’t already in use (or available land able to support crops and/or livestock), farmers must continue to increase efficiencies on their farms. I’ve heard a lot of consumers talk about the use of modern technology on farms like it’s a bad thing, but just as you may use computers, GPS and other technologies to improve efficiencies in your business, farmers use the same on their farms.

Farms also stimulate the economy in communities from coast to coast. Farms create jobs and also spend money in the community to support local businesses.
In short, agriculture is important.
Grandpa bringing hay to the field for our beef cows to eat.
It’s not just about producing food. It’s also about sustaining the lifestyle our ancestors have passed down to us and a lifestyle we hope to pass on to the next generation. My grandpa grew up milking cows by hand and as he says, “doing things the hard way.” These days, my brother is the one on the tractor all summer long making hay and caring for our small herd of beef cows. Agriculture is in our blood. It’s hard work. I remember how exhausted I was some days after working at the dairy for 18 hours straight in the summer heat, but someone has to do it. The cows work hard every day and so do we.

This month, I challenge each of you to take a few minutes and learn about modern agriculture and how farmers produce nutritious food for your family to enjoy. This could be in the form of reaching out to a farm blogger or a farmer on social media and asking them questions about their farm, visiting a farm, etc.

Grandpa says thanks for supporting family farmers!
Don’t forget to thank a farmer (or a lot of farmers!) for their contributions to ensuring we continue to have a safe and abundant food supply.

What are you doing to celebrate Ag Month? You don’t have to be a farmer to celebrate! Pick up a juicy steak and gallon of milk on your way home tonight.

From our family to yours, thanks for supporting agriculture!

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