Pike County celebrating National Ag Day today

Published 10:09 pm Monday, March 19, 2018

Today, March 20, 2018, is National Ag Day, a day designated to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture.

In celebration, National Ag Day shines a spotlight on those who provide that abundance, including the American farmer.

“One farmer feeds 155 people at home and broad,” said Kathy Sauer, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president. “If you are one of those people, then today, thank a farmer.”

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Probably, few people will thank a farmer, perhaps, because a farmer would be rather hard to find. Farmers and ranchers make up less than 2 percent of America’s population of nearly 328 million. Women make up 30 percent of the total number of United States farm operators.

Randy Hale, chair of the chamber’s Farm-City Committee, said Ag Day is a national observance and his committee appreciates the opportunity to acknowledge the local agriculture-connected agencies.

“Pike County has a strong agricultural heritage and base,” Hale said. “County agencies work hard to promote agriculture in Pike County and around the state. The Farm-City Committee, Pike County Extension, Pike County Cattlemen and Cattlewomen, 4-H Clubs, the Pike County Farmers Federation, Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are among those that benefit agriculture and, in turn, all of us.”

Hale said Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable and among the world’s safest, thanks in large to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families.

According to “The Voice of Agriculture,” in the 1960s, each American farmer was feeding 25 people compared to 155 today and that is a dramatic increase. Today’s American farmers are doing more and doing it better. As the world population grows, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050.

Hale said that means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced. The U.S. sells more food and fiber to world markets than it imports, creating a positive agricultural trade balance.

National Ag Day highlights facts about agriculture, some that are primarily unknown by the general public.

For instance, farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. That’s compared to 31 cents in 1980. The rest of the dollar goes to cost beyond the farm gate such as wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution.

Sauer said the Pike County Farm-City Committee is dedicated to getting the facts about agriculture before the public and does so through a variety of program and events.

“The relationship between the rural and urban communities is essential to our existence as a community, a state and a nation,” she said. “Neither community can do it alone. It takes all of us working together to keep our nation strong.”