SIDNEY — Happy National Ag Week! For those of us in the agriculture industry, this week is a celebration of what we do daily, which is to advocate, advance and grow agriculture in our communities and nation. This year is special for those of us at the Farm Bureau because we are not only celebrating agriculture, but we are celebrating 100 years of working for that industry.
“People have within their own hands the tools to fashion their own destiny.” Which was famously quoted by Murray Lincoln, Ohio Farm Bureau’s first executive secretary. His words on grassroots empowerment are the hallmarks of the Farm Bureau organization and many in the agriculture industry. These words stand today as a guide for our organization and agriculture partners advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.
Farm Bureau was started by a group of farmers who wanted to help improve the rural way of life and advocate in a way to foster cooperation of all lines of society. In 1919, rural problems such as barriers in rural electrification process, just insurance rates and emerging changes in technology and manufacturing were the problems of the day that Farm Bureau advocated for. Today, agriculture is still working with challenges like how to harness emerging technology and market changes, helping people understand how we grow food, working to protect our environment and the ever-growing rules and regulations in our industry. However, what remains the same, is the overriding principles of the power of individuals in our agriculture community to make a change and advance our industry.
Every day I work with the 2 percent of our US population; farmers. They are a diverse bunch of folks, who are women, men, young, old and most of all passionate about their jobs. All of them take the job of growing food for our plates very seriously and do this on large farms and the smallest of acres. But agriculture is much bigger than these individuals. Agriculture is vast and the largest business that Americans take part in each day.
In Ohio alone, 1 in 7 jobs is linked to agriculture or 900,000 jobs. It also contributes $105 billion to our state’s economy, which includes all agriculture products from the farms and manufacturing. In the United States, over $401.3 billion of cash receipts come directly from the farm and 17 million Americans are in a job in agriculture and related industries. In total, farmers each feed 168 people in the US and abroad and this number speaks to the efficiency and growth of the agriculture industry in the past 50 years.
All of these numbers show each of us is that agriculture is indeed worth celebrating! So, join us at the Farm Bureau during National Agriculture Week, and celebrate the fact that in the United States we have many choices on how we are able to feed families. Thank you agriculture!
Want to learn more, contact the Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby County Farm Bureau at 877-775-7642 or learn more at www.ofbf.org.
The writer is the Ohio Farm Bureau’s organization director for Auglaize, Logan, Mercer, Shelby and Union counties.