Lincoln County Journal

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Why area farmers are so important and some ways you can support them

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

cowsHave you ever walked into a grocery store to get some hamburger, or some tomatoes and wondered how it got there?
No matter what the food substance, it all goes back to the hard work and dedication of the American farmer. People across the nation and around the world owe their thanks to the man who sits behind the tractor.
Farming has been a part of the human tradition since the early days of civilization. Since that time farming has progressed from plowing a field with the use of horses and mules to a diversified business that is the back bone of the United States and the world economy.
Nearly 70 percent of people are directly affected by agriculture, and everything that is produced by humans can be in some way, shape, or form be produced by agriculture. With this kind of dependence, it should be a no-brainer that we should do all that we can to support this industry to make sure that it runs at full capacity. However, how do we do this?
To truly understand how important farming is to the community we must first take an even closer look at the necessity for agriculture in our lives. Statistics show that agriculture has been key in the development of our country and continues to be an active force.
When the United States declared independence in 1776, the economy of the colonies was primarily based on farming. As our country began to grow, industry began to grow with it, but it was not without the influence of agriculture.
Inventor Eli Whitney’s cotton gin was, as the name suggests, used to harvest cotton. Today agriculture contributes billions to the U.S. domestic gross product and it is a livelihood that has become the back bone of small communities.
However, this important aspect of small town communities has not come without its challenges. With continual loss of good farmland to urban development, farms have become more and more scarce as our country continues to develop. Fewer and fewer people are engaging in any agricultural pursuits, which makes the number of farmers dwindle as the years goes on.
Farmers have also faced many problems themselves. While the 1920s were a year of prosperity for most of the United States, farmers struggled due to falling farm prices, which only got worse with the coming Great Depression a decade later.
In the 1980s, due to trade embargoes against the Soviet Union, high interest rates and other factors forced many farmers to bankruptcy.
Battling the elements and other forces in nature, the American farmer has had many factors stacked against him, which makes his occupation a literal gamble, and it’s all to ensure that we consumers have food on the table each day.
So how do we support these people whom our very well beings depend on?
One of the best ways that we can support our national agricultural industry is through education. Education is the best thing that anyone can do, and knowing about agriculture is no exception. By knowing where our food comes from and how it is produced, we are better able to understand what the local community farmer does, we are more able to relate to what they do and find ways to support them.
Secondly, one of the best ways to support our local farmers is by simply purchasing their products. If you like a certain product, you buy more of it, which in turn helps those who make it. Simply put, if you like bacon and eggs every morning for breakfast, keep buying those products and support the American farm that produced those eggs and that bacon.
Lastly, and probably the most important thing that we can do is to contribute our time, effort and appreciation to our area farmers. A simple thank you is enough to show the men and women who work the land that we as consumers do care and appreciate what they do.
In using resources, donate to reputable organizations that strive to keep family farms in business, like Farm Aid. Started in 1985 by John Mellencamp and Neil Young, Farm Aid has raised over 50 million dollars to support their mission to keep farm families in business.
The hard work and the toil that farmers put forth for our well being is worth our thanks and it is our responsibility as consumers to support our area farmers. In supporting our farmers and their livelihoods we are securing our hope for a better future. In the last paragraph of the FFA Creed it says:
“ I believe that American Agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part of that inspiring task.”
Though this paragraph speaks mainly to those in the national FFA organization, it also speaks to us as well. While the American farmer is producing our food for us, it is our responsibility as consumers to do everything we can to support him so that agriculture can hold true to the best traditions of our national life.