Food brings us to the table
There is one industry that sometimes gets overlooked in the mad rush we all call life.
Having grown up on a farm in central Minnesota, I am well aware of the importance farmers play in our society. My father operated a large hog farm for 50 years before retiring in the late 1990s.
I still remember getting razzed a little bit on the school bus when I would get dropped off and the wind would be just right to allow the smells to filter into the bus. I took it all in stride and realized there was much more to the hog smells than kids complaining, "Oh, yuck."
But the education I received far outweighs any ridiculing I may have taken.
Food brings everyone to the table. Whether it's pork, beef, dairy, vegetables, fruits and other foods, it all originates with our farmers.
Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear. But too few people truly understand this contribution or even know how food and fiber products are produced.
Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people, a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more and doing it better.
As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.
Cotton, wool and leather are all agricultural products.
Besides food and products, agriculture also provides employment opportunities to a very large percentage of the population. This is especially true in our region.
I am proud that I grew up in a household where I could understand the importance of agriculture at a young age. It's sad how a majority of today's youth is so distanced from the farm and has no idea what comes from where.
Last week was National Agriculture Week, a time for everyone to recognize and celebrate agriculture's contribution to our everyday lives. The essential role of agriculture helps maintain a strong economy. Agriculture is the backbone of our economic system.
Our staff celebrated by putting out a large special section devoted to agriculture last week. While much of it may have been geared toward farmers, it's equally important for non-farmers to read so they have a better understanding of the issues facing agriculture.
Without a doubt, farmers and what they do on their farms help all of us in our daily lives. We all reap the benefits of agriculture in one way or another.
If you get a chance, thank a farmer for the valuable contributions they make to our society.
And let's go in hot pursuit of wishing our farmers the best as they embark on a new growing season to benefit all of us.