With harvest underway for many, it is a time to not only practice road safety, but a time to reflect on the many blessings we have to be thankful. Recently, South Central Cattlewomen and Nebraska Extension teamed up to provide the annual AgVenture Day for over 150 area fourth graders. This is an event I love doing every year because it gets the kids excited and surprised about how important agriculture is in our daily lives. The United States has the best agricultural production in the world and some of the smartest and most innovative farmers and ranchers.
According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and USDA National Ag Statistics Service, Nebraska ranks 1st in the following: beef and veal exports, commercial red meat production, all cattle on feed, Great Northern beans production, irrigated land harvested and even popcorn production! We rank second in pinto beans and proso millet production and third in corn for grain production, all dry edible bean production and cash receipts for all farm commodities at over 23.5 billion dollars! Other brief highlights include, ranking fifth in soybean and grain sorghum production, sixth in swine production and 7th for alfalfa production. (Facts based on February 2015 Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card.)
Not only is agriculture the backbone of our economy, one in four jobs in Nebraska is related to agriculture. Nebraska’s farms and ranches cover 45.2 million acres, which is 92% of the state’s total land area!
Still don’t think agriculture is important? Look at the list of products produced from corn and soybeans alone: oils, soaps, cosmetics, plastics, inks, pet food, fuel, crayons, diapers, soda, toothpaste and the list continues! From beef byproducts (products we derive from the animal other than meat) we get leather products such as baseballs, luggage and clothing, but also medicines, tires, fertilizers, gelatin, explosives, asphalt, film, cake mixes, lotions, conditioners, shampoos, etc., etc., etc. In short, what is important to note is that if you eat or use any product from the store, in one way or the other it was impacted directly from agriculture! We can not and could not live a day without agriculture!
Other interesting facts include:
- A single bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of soda.
- Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
- A typical, full-grown Holstein cow produces 60 pounds of milk daily.
- Heart valves from pigs are used to replace damaged or diseased human heart valves.
- Soybeans can produce two times as much protein per acre than any other major vegetable or grain crop, which is great for building strong muscles.
- Grain sorghum is gluten free which is great for those with wheat allergies.
Without agriculture, we cannot survive and would have social unrest. So as you see all of those farmers driving combines, tractors with grain carts and trucks hauling the grain to town, stop and think how important they are so that you and I can live a great and healthy life! Thank you farmers and ranchers for EVERYTHING!