Celebrating Agriculture in America
March 5, 2012
Farmers and ranchers work hard every day to grow safe and healthy food for families around the world. They take pride in the care they provide for their livestock and strive to use farming practices that benefit the environment. Often, family members work together because farming or ranching is not only their livelihood, but also their lifestyle – it’s not just a job, it’s who they are. It’s a tradition that has been in place since the first plow broke the ground and free range cattle grazing was widely accepted. However, it was merely 40 years ago that the idea to appoint a day or week to celebrate the contributions of agriculture came about. Since then agriculture has had a week and a particular day designated for that exact purpose. This year join in the National Agriculture Week celebration during March 4-10 and National Agriculture Day on March 8, 2012.
National Agriculture Week and Ag Day was started by University of Minnesota graduate Don Neth during a time when farm grown items were in surplus, creating distribution problems and influencing lower market prices for farm commodities. To help solve the problems facing American growers, the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) was formed in 1973 to increase public awareness on the role agriculture plays in the daily lives of all people. Groups helping to spread the ACA’s message are organizations such as: agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies, producers and many others. These participating groups will be focused on educating consumers about how their food, fiber, clothing and fuel is made and where it comes from.
The ACA’s main focus is administering the National Ag Day program each year in March. Their message is focused on explaining how farmers and ranchers grow nearly everything we eat, use or wear on a daily basis. The ACA’s values reflect an understanding of how food and fiber products are made while expressing appreciation for the safe, plentiful and affordable items that agriculture provides. They also compliment agricultures’ contributions to the economy, and support career opportunities in the agricultural field.
Today the surpluses are gone and farm ground is bringing in record prices due to the good profit in agricultural crops. Yet, there are still several challenges to be addressed during National Agriculture Week and Ag Day. While it is important to highlight the contributions ag growers have made, the core spotlight is on continuing work with issues that are affecting present day agriculture, such as animal welfare, consumer disconnect and misunderstanding among those not involved in farm or ranch life on a regular basis. The ACA and multiple agricultural organizations will be teaming up across the nation to address these challenges and tells agriculture’s story.
National Agriculture Week and Ag Day are a chance for anyone involved in agriculture, or passionate about it, to support the farmers and ranchers of America by thanking them for what they do seven days a week, 365 days a year, and by informing consumers about the agricultural trade. If you would like to get involved this year to help spread the message, please visit http://www.AgDay.org for some great ideas on how to contribute.