Friday, March 20, 2009
National Agriculture Day
The 36th anniversary of National Agriculture Day was celebrated this week. This celebrated week is sponsored by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). Each year, a key component of National Ag Day is an Essay Contest for 7th- to 12th-grade students across the country.
“This year, the theme ‘Agriculture — Every Day in Every Way,’ was a great way to show how important agriculture is to everyone,” said Linda Tank, vice chair of ACA.
Approximately 400 students entered this year’s contest. The national winner is Kelly Kohler, a 10th grader from Redwood Valley High School, Redwood Falls, Minn. She received a $1,000 prize and a round-trip ticket to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at the National Celebration of Agriculture dinner at the USDA Whitten Building Patio. With permission, the source of this information is provided by the Ag Council of America and CAST (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology), and they have allowed me to share her essay as follows:
“A hard-working farmer will be the first person to tell you that agriculture has an essential part in our every day lives. In small-town Minnesota, where a considerable amount of the population has a career in the agricultural industry, this is a widely known and accepted fact. The fields serve as a constant reminder to the inevitable truth that agriculture is a large part of our lives. ??On the contrary, in large cities where the view of the fields is hidden by looming skyscrapers, agriculture is practically a foreign concept. Thousands of people from the metropolitan area eat, touch, drink and wear agriculture and for the most part, the urban population is oblivious to the effect agriculture has on their lives.
“How is the urban dweller to know that, as he or she walks down the street, their life is impacted repeatedly by agriculture? The leather briefcase in hand, the burger for lunch, and even the shirt on their back are all products of the agricultural industry. The leather and beef came from a cow, the fibers in the shirt came from a plant that grew on a farmer’s property.
“I grew up hearing stories of the family farm, the funny and sad ones. My grandma had once said, “When money was scarce, we would buy grain and go without so that our cows could eat.” Then, agriculture was the largest part of my grandmother’s world. The cows were both food and income so they made a large sacrifice to keep the cows nourished and healthy.
“These days, agriculture is so deeply rooted in society that it is taken for granted and often ignored. The products that come from farms and agricultural processors are so commonplace that they are always expected. The food that farmers produce goes to nourish the masses that largely overlook their entire existence. Have you ever gone to a grocery store where there was no food?
“This livelihood is the most important. A world without food, fiber and natural resources is unfathomable. People would walk around naked, cold and despairing. World hunger would spread, reaching the edges of the globe, and we would starve, unaware of the hidden potential that lies underneath our feet, in the soil, oceans and rivers. This world would be chaotic and swiftly deteriorate under the burden of the people’s needs. Even the tough financial times our world is currently facing would seem simple compared to life without agriculture.
“Agriculture is everywhere, even though society seems to have forgotten, it surrounds the countryside, cities and everyone in them. The agricultural industry is one of the most important industries in the world today. A world without agriculture is a world without life.”
Kelly Kohler says so much in a very small space. Don’t take agriculture for granted. Celebrate agriculture and thank your fellow farmers for providing for each of us. It is the foundation our community and as Kelly Kohler said, “A world without agriculture is a world without life.”
The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association, and McCormick Company. For a complete listing of state winners, go to www.agday.org/media/pr9.php.
Happy National Agriculture Week and today is the day, the first day of spring!