Happy Ag Day (March 21) and National Ag Week!
The Agricultural Council of America began celebrating Ag Day in 1973 with the desire to recognize and celebrate the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. This program encourages every American to understand how food and fiber products are produced; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products.
Today, each American farmer feeds more than 168 people which is a large increase from 25 people in the 1960s.
Today’s farmers also produce 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.), compared with 1950. Farm and ranch families comprise just two percent of the U.S. population. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, America’s rural landscape is comprised of around 2 million farms with 99 percent of U.S. farms being operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations. Farmers on average receive only $0.13 of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home.
Regarding Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Ag reports in its “2016 Ag Facts” card that cash receipts contributed almost $23 billion to Nebraska’s economy in 2015 and 6.1 percent of the U.S. total.
- Nebraska’s ten leading commodities (in order of value) for 2015 cash receipts are cattle and calves, corn, soybeans, hogs, chicken eggs, dairy products, wheat, hay, dry beans and potatoes.
- Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.22 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production.
- Nebraska’s $6.4 billion in agricultural exports in 2015 translates into $7.8 billion in additional economic activity.
- Nebraska’s top five agricultural exports in 2015 were soybeans, feeds and fodders, beef and veal, corn and soybean meal.
- Nebraska had 48,700 farms and ranches during 2015; the average operation consisted of 928 acres.
- In 2015, Nebraska had 25 operating ethanol plants with a total production capacity of over 2 billion gallons. Nebraska ranked 2nd among states in ethanol production and utilized 31% of the state’s 2015 corn crop.
- Livestock or poultry operations were found on 49% of Nebraska farms.
- 1 in 4 jobs in Nebraska is related to agriculture.
- From east to west, Nebraska experiences a 4,584 foot elevation difference and the average annual precipitation decreases by one inch every 25 miles.
- Between 2007-2012, Nebraska experienced a 5% increase in the number of farms and 10% increase in the number of new farmers.
So agriculture is of huge importance to our economy! It was interesting to see the change in some of these numbers compared to last year, a sign of the economic times we currently face in the agricultural industry. Information is being shared each week at our CropWatch web site to help.
Please be sure to thank a farmer and those who work in the agricultural industry this week! Without them, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the safe, affordable, healthy food supply and choice we have as consumers!