A Point of View: Be thankful for our farmers
Wednesday March 6, 2013 | By:Dr. Robert L. Heichberger |
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville area has been blessed with fertile farm lands and many citizens who are involved in agriculture. What a contribution these people are making, to the local economy and to our health and wellbeing.
America’s farming families have risen to meet the challenge of feeding and supplying America’s population. This land is their livelihood, pride and legacy.
I spent the first 26 years of my life on our family farm. Most of my and my wife’s relatives are still farmers. I will always be grateful for that agriculture experience.
American farms are integral parts of our local and national economy. The agriculture business employs 21 million people, or approximately 14 percent of the United States workforce. It consists of more than six times as many workers as our automotive industry and it is one of the few American business sectors that can boast a trade surplus.
The agriculture business exported $132 billion in fabrics and foods, in 2011. Americans spend 9.5 percent of their income on food. United States farms sold $369 billion in goods, in 2010. That is greater than nearly 200 countries’ gross national products.
Farming is a way of life. Farmers turn out more than food and fiber; they also produce clean water and clean air and a bountiful wildlife habitat. Agricultural land provides habitat for 75 percent of our wildlife.
According to recent statistics provided by the American Farm Bureau, 98 percent of American farms are family farms. There are more than 2 million farms in the United States today, with more than 900 million acres under cultivation.
Our farmers continue to increase food production, to help feed the world’s population. More than 24 million people are employed in supplying food from the farm to the table.
Agriculture is America’s No. 1 export, generating more than $100 billion annually, while providing jobs for nearly 1 million workers.
Approximately 24 percent of our agriculture products are exported. What an impact on our local and our national economy!
To American farmers, the land is more than a livelihood. It is their home. It’s a resource to be cared for, preserved, improved upon and passed on, to the next generation.
These men and women are the caretakers of our farm lands. They provide for each of us. All of us are better off, in many ways, because of the virtues of agriculture.
The value of the American farmer is felt, both here and abroad. We are benefitted, in health, substance and our quality of life.
Thank you, to the American farmer and to all the ancillary support personnel in the agricultural industry.