SDCGA salutes National Ag Week

National Agriculture week March 15-20, is a designated time to show support for the nation’s row crop farmers, livestock growers, industry partners and others who will take our country's agriculture industry into the future.

National Ag Day will be celebrated on Friday, March, 20, the first official day of Spring. And as producers begin to gear up to go back to the fields for another season, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association salutes our state and nation’s food producers for providing the safest, most abundant food source in the world.

“South Dakota at its roots is truly an agricultural state, a designation we should all be proud of,” said Bill Chase, president of the SDCGA. “The agriculture industry is a pillar for our state and nation’s economy, and farmers are essential to our wellbeing and should be credited for keeping the economy strong.”

Fewer than 2 percent of our population are directly involved in production agriculture, yet their dedication and expertise provides enough food, fiber and fuel to meet our nation’s every day needs and beyond. American agriculture is truly responsible for providing the necessities for everyday life.

While just 2 percent of our population is producers, more than 22 million people work in the agriculture industry, according to the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). This includes careers in everything from food chemistry to banking to commodity trading. And the job descriptions of tomorrow’s agriculture professionals may look quite different due to advances in farming technology and the broad opportunities that extend far beyond the field.

What’s more is agriculture is extremely important to putting the United States on the path toward reducing its reliance on oil.

American agriculture is doing more – and doing it more efficiently and environmentally responsible – than ever before. Today, each American farmer feeds more than 144 people, according to ACA. In 1960, each farmer fed 46 people. Innovations in farming techniques and technology have increased efficiency in the food production process.

Meanwhile, the environmental impact of growing crops like corn declines every year. Here are a few stats:

  • Biotechnology makes corn resistant to insects, which means less pesticides.
  • Farmers grow five times as much corn as they did in the 1930s — on 20 percent less land. 
  • Farmers manage their fields differently, using reduced- or no-till management systems, which protects soil from erosion.
  • And farmers today produce 70 percent more corn per pound of fertilizer than as recently as the 1970s.

 “The American farmer grows enough corn in this country to feed people and animals, export all the corn the rest of the world wants from us and make ethanol … and still have corn left over for emergencies,” said Chase. “Producers continue to be the providers of this nation’s food and fuel … we don’t have to choose. And we have producers to thank.”

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