By: Ali Steuer, Mentoring Student
Adapting to a changing and more demanding world, agriculture continues to provide adequate amounts of food to our society. Whether it’s an organic orange farmer in Florida or a small Berkshire hog farm in Nebraska, the world depends on United States agriculture every day. In 1790 nearly 90% of the workforce had a job dependent on agriculture, today that number has shrunk to nearly 2%. Today more than ever, our world is dependent on an efficient, highly productive agricultural industry. With every new day, each one of us has a direct interaction with agriculture without even knowing it, whether it is getting dressed in the morning or ordering a burger at McDonalds. From recently giving a presentation on the production process of hogs at Metro CC in Omaha where a small percentage of students have experienced production agriculture, my blog this week will be about “things you may not know.” The students inquired things that for many of us who grew up experiencing some form of agriculture, would already know. Overall, I was impressed to see that students asked questions and were interested to learn about the pork industry.
– Every crop is different, not all crops are planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. Depending on your location and climate dictates what crops are suitable for your area. As Nebraskans, we live in the Corn Belt where corn and soybeans are the primary crops. In western Nebraska though, wheat, sugar beets, and pinto beans can also be found due to the dynamic change in their land and climate.
– There are only 2.1 million farmers in the United States. On a daily basis they feed 111 million households (that’s not even people) which means every day one farmer feeds 52.9 households!
– With increasing demand for pork worldwide, currently one in every four pigs produced in the United States is being used for exports
– There has been a dramatic shift in agriculture throughout the years. The Farm Bill (which many associate to dealing with primarily agriculture) now includes: Energy, conservation, trade, rural development, commodity futures, horticulture, livestock, nutrition, and much more.
– Much like any business in America, the farm is our business. We are dependent on our animals and crops being profitable each year so we too can eat!
– Pigs, next to chickens, are one of the most efficient livestock animals. It takes three pounds of feed (mixture of corn, soybeans, wheat, etc) for them to gain ONE POUND!
– You may not think so, but these items affect agriculture everyday: globalization, demand growth (increase in world population), increasing technology, politics, food safety, and the environment
– Want to become a crop farmer in rural America? First you’ll need land, averaging $4,000 an acre. If you buy 500 acres of land (an average size farm) you’re talking about a $2 million dollar investment! After that you’ll need equipment, a new combine today averages around $200,000 and a tractor to plant the crop, another $100,000. It is easy to see why the numbers of farms are diminishing in America today. The same is true about animal agriculture!
– WE CARE about our animals, land, and products! It’s our way of life.
– Being a small sector in the economy while simultaneously fulfilling a large role has shaped the agricultural industry today. We strive to make improvements everyday and are here to establish facts. We enjoy answering questions and teaching the American public about our industry!