To the Editor:
Where does your food come from? If you’re like many Americans, your answer may be the grocery store. You, we and more than 150 other people ate today because of one American farmer — an increase of 800 percent over the past 73 years! In 1940, each farmer produced enough food to feed 19 people.
We officially recognize our farmers, ranchers and all they do to make our lives better during Agriculture Week, March 23-29. This year’s theme is “Agricul-ture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed.” Farmers not only produce food, fiber and fuel, they contribute to a strong economy. In fact, agriculture and agribusinesses accounts for 20 percent of the state’s economy, according to Kansas Inc.
We are fortunate enough to be a part of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) program. As participants, our eyes are being further opened to the many different aspects of agricultural business and its impacts on our lives.
If you’re like us, you don’t have to think very long to think of a hard-working agriculture pro-ducer who contributes to our way of life. Perhaps it’s your grandparent, an uncle, or maybe an old friend.
The role of farmers will become even more critical with the exploding world population. We reached 7 billion people in 2011. The United Nations fore-casts that world population will reach 9 billion by 2050 — and that farmers will have to produce 70 percent more food than they do today.
Agriculture is our nation’s No.1 export and vitally import-ant in sustaining a healthy economy.
And it’s not just the farmer who makes our food possible. Agriculture industries all the way to the grocery store, are vital links in a chain that brings food to every citizen — and millions of people abroad.
Farms of every size are important today, regardless of whether they are feeding just their families or the world. Here’s an interesting fact from U.S. Department of Agriculture numbers released in February 2013: 25 percent of farms have an average of 55 acres and sales of less than $2,500.
Agriculture Week is a good time to reflect on — and be grate-ful for — American agriculture. This marks a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us.
Be part of America’s agri-culture, if even just for one day. Take a drive in the country with your family. There’s no prettier green than winter wheat fields waking from winter dormancy. And wave if you see a farmer. We guarantee they’ll wave back.