Salute our farmers and ranchers during Ag Week | TheFencePost.com

Salute our farmers and ranchers during Ag Week

On March 20, National Ag Day, Americans recognize the people who produce our food safely and efficiently. This annual commemoration occurs during National Ag Week, March 18-24. This is your opportunity to join the Greeley Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee to acknowledge farmers and ranchers for all that they do.

You shouldn't have any trouble finding farmers and ranchers in Weld County where 2.5 million acres, or 75 percent of the land, is devoted to farming and ranching. The county leads Colorado in producing beef and dairy cattle, grain and sugar beets.

In fact, there are more than 3,000 farms in Weld County and agriculture products produced here create nearly $1.9 billion in market value. As you can imagine, the agriculture industry pumps a lot of money into the county's economy.

Although they generate a lot of money, farmers and ranchers only receive 15.6 cents from every dollar we spend on food. Processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers make more than 80 cents from that dollar, according to the National Farmers Union.

That's why our food is so affordable in the U.S., compared with some other countries. The latest figures from USDA show that U.S. consumers spend just 6.4 percent of their household income on food, compared with 8.2 percent in the UK, 9.1 percent in Canada, 9.8 percent in Australia and 56.4 percent in Nigeria.

If it weren't for farmers and ranchers we would be forced to import food from other countries. Some of those countries do not have the same stringent safety rules and precautions that we have here in the U.S. You can rest assured that food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and many private companies are constantly coming up with new rules, regulations and technologies to improve food safety.

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Food safety isn't just a concern for farmers and ranchers, but it continues through the chain of food processors, distributors and retailers. Then, it's up to us, the consumers, to ensure the food we purchase is properly stored and prepared until it is served.

As our farmers and ranchers produce more food to feed a growing world population, they also try to be Earth-friendly. Ag producers know that they need to take care of the land and the water so the next generation can continue to use those natural resources. Every year, the agriculture industry is transforming itself using new methods and technologies to be good stewards of the land and still remain profitable.

Today, it's more important than ever to thank our ag producers, as more people grow up not knowing the source of their food, or the people who produce it. Our committee schedules an annual tour of ag-related locations to help the business community learn more about where our food comes from. This year's is Aug. 17, and will focus on water.

You can also travel to Denver on March 22 to celebrate Colorado Ag Day at the Capitol with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Ag Commissioner Don Brown to thank the state's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses. The event showcases dishes produced with Colorado-grown food and reminds attendees that agriculture is one of the top two or three contributors to the state's economy every year.

The Greeley Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee invites everyone to join us during Ag Week to celebrate the work of those who ensure you have food at your table.

The Greeley Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee is comprised of local ag producers, and business men and women who value the agriculture industry and desire to promote the benefits our community receives from agriculture.

Committee Members

Scot Dutcher, Western Dairy Association

Gege Ellzey, Weld Farm Bureau

Bill Erickson, Weld Farm Bureau

Arnie Fiscus, Fiscus Enterprises

Kristi Helzer, West Greeley Conservation District

Don Hijar, Pawnee Buttes Seed

Rona Johnson, The Fence Post

Joyce Kelly, Kelly Farm

Becky Leach, EKS&H

Tony Miller, First FarmBank

Jenn Negley, East Colorado Small Business Development Center

Becca Peter, Pawnee Buttes Seed

Kim Reddin, Colorado Corn

Tim Rennau, Flood and Peterson

Dani Rigg, Loveland Products

Mark Sponsler, Colorado Corn

Bill Webster, Retired cattle feeder