As the world population soars, there is even greater demand for the food, fiber and renewable resources produced in the United States. The National Ag Week program believes that every American should:
- Understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced.
- Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
- Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
- Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.
Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis; it increasingly contributes to fuel and other bio-products.
So, in the spirit of celebrating all things AG, The FFA New Horizons suggests daily activities through the week.
Monday: Thank a Farmer Day
Locally, of course, we have many ranchers and farmers. Two that come to mind are the Mortimers and Watters Garden Center.
You may not know it, but Ken Lain from Watters Garden Center provides many of the fresh-grown plants that he sells in his shop and develops much of the plant food, potting soil and other supplies specifically designed for local gardens. Also, employees at Watters are extremely knowledgable and helpful in answering your questions to help you grow your own products and become your own, personal mini-AG location.
The Mortimers have opened their living, operating farm and ranch to the public. Head out to Mortimer Farms in Dewey-Humboldt and see a ranch in action, pet the critters, pick the strawberries, pumpkins and corn. They have special events that include vendors and activities, but Mortimer’s Farm is open most of the year.
Tuesday: National AG Day
Make it a goal to learn something about Agriculture in your local area, and also advocate with your elected officials for those in the Agriculture field.
The FFA New Horizons site suggests Tweeting your legislators using #NextGenAg and #AGDay tags. You can also phone them. They have created an FFA Advocacy Legislative Handbook which helps provide some talking points.
Wednesday: School Day
The FFA suggests bringing your favorite fruit or veggie to class along with facts about where it was grown. Or bring a farmer to school to speak to a class. They’ve provided a #SpeakAG fact sheet.
Did you know:
- About 99% of US farms are family owned or operated
- Women make up 30% of the total number of US farmer operators
- Chocolate milk is made by mixing chocolate from the tropical cacao tree with sugar and adding it into white milk. (That makes it healthy, right?)
- It takes 2.6 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef in the US.
- Synthetic fertilizers are not allowed in certified organic products, but certain select pesticides are allowable.
- Natural and organic are not interchangeable terms. 'Natural' is applied to foods free of synthetic preservatives. 'Organic' means that the food has been produced through approved methods fostering the cycling of resources, promoting biological balance and conserving biodiversity.
- The EPA reports that cattle production is NOT a top contributor to greenhouse gas emission, despite what you may have heard. (Transportation: 26%; electricity generation 33%).
- Brown eggs or white eggs? There is no nutritional difference. Different breeds of chickens lay different color eggs.
- 83% of the food we eat in America is grown by US farmers and ranchers.
- The US sells more food and fiber to world markets than it imports.
- In 2018, farmers and ranchers can expect to receive only 16¢ out of every dollar spent on food. In 1980, they received 31¢ on the dollar. The rest goes to expenses outside the farm: wages and materials for production, processing, transportation & distribution.
- The US has the most affordable food supply of all the World’s developed countries. Here are some examples:
- US consumers spend about 10% of their disposable income on food
- Italy 15%
- Poland 20%
- Philippines 36%
- Kenya over 40%
- Hormones are not used in the production of chickens or turkeys. The US and most European countries, and other developed nations strictly prohibit the use of hormones in animals and animal feed.
- Over 20% of all farmers are beginning farmers with less than 10 years experience.
- There are 257,454 millennial farmers. Consider them #NextGenAG
Thursday: Community Day
Consider donating some agriculture books to your local library or school. The FFA offers suggestions for books suitable for all ages.
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food pantry while wearing your favorite FFA or Agriculture T-Shirt
Friday: Share your #SpeakAG Story Day
Post some pics on your social media of agricultural experiences and favorite locally-grown foods.
Saturday: Head to the Farmer’s Market!
For a great opportunity to experience local agriculture first hand, try out the Farmer’s Market and buy some great products.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, the Farmer’s Market is open during the winter in both Prescott (Saturdays, 10 AM - 1 PM) and Prescott Valley (Tuesdays, 10AM - 1PM) Find out more at the Farmer’s Market website. Read the Whipstone Farms newsletter and blog for a greenhouse perspective on nearby day-to-day farming progress. You’ll learn it's all about a lot more than simply fresh tomatoes! (But, boy, those tomatoes are really good!)
Want to help local farmers? Spread the word. A few generations ago, most Americans were directly involved in—or had relatives or friends involved in—agricultural-related endeavors. Today, that is no longer the case. National #AGDay advocates say that is why it is so important to join together at the community level. "...our voices, in concert, become a shout that carries our message a great deal further than any one of us can do alone!"