Today Marks 50 Years Of National Ag Day | Big Horn Basin Media

Today Marks 50 Years Of National Ag Day

Written by on March 21, 2023

New Technology in Agriculture are increasing farm profitability.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of National Ag Day.  This is a day that celebrates the farmers and ranchers who work hard everyday to make sure that Americans have food on their tables, material for clothing and building and by-products used in a variety of ways.

New Technology in Agriculture are increasing farm profitability.

But what is “Ag” and how does it play an integral part in our lives?

“Agriculture” is the practice of cultivating natural and man-made resources to sustain human life and provide economic gains by combining creativity, imagination and skill when planting crops and also raising animals, according the Maryville University.

Agriculture is also a business that provides commodities not only in the United States, but around the world.  Commodities such as basic goods used in commerce, such as grain, livestock, dairy, fiber, and raw materials for fuel are just a few examples.  Fiber is a top crop in U.S. agricultural production, according to The Balance Small Business, and a necessary commodity for the clothing industry.

Before people started farming and ranching, people hunted and gathered food in order to survive.  It wasn’t until people found that planned planting and harvesting of crops that humanity thrived, while developing tools and practices to improve not only their agricultural output but also their quality of life that introduced the modern era.

To say that agriculture is an important part of our everyday life is an understatement.  Without Agriculture, getting dressed for work, cleaning the home and sustaining a diet would not be possible.

Here are examples of the agricultural products we use in our everyday lives:

  • Shelter. Wood and plant-based materials, such as bamboo, can be used for indoor décor and construction materials.
  • Morning routine. Mint is often an ingredient in toothpaste, adding flavor while brushing your teeth, and the caffeine in coffee that keeps you awake is derived from the coffee bean.
  • Dressing up. In addition to cotton, clothing can be manufactured from hemp, ramie, and flax. Bio-based materials can be used to produce grooming products such as skin creams and shampoos.
  • Cleaning. Two types of chemicals used in detergents, cleaning products, and bath or hand soap — surfactants and solvents — can be produced from biomass.
  • Driving to work. Plants make it possible to get to and from work. Think of rubber (sourced from rubber trees) and biodiesel fuel, which often includes ethanol (sourced from corn).
  • Entertainment. Paper from trees enables you to write, and some musical instruments, such as reed instruments, require materials made from plants.
  • Education. From pencils (still often made of wood) to paper textbooks, students rely on agricultural products every day.

Agriculture has an indelible effect and significant role in the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service reports that agricultural and food sectors provided 10% of all U.S. employment in 2020 — nearly 20 million full- and part-time jobs. Additionally, the USDA reported that cash receipts from crops totaled nearly $198 billion in 2020. Animal and animal product receipts in 2020, totaled $165 billion.

The interdependence of the food and agriculture sector with other sectors, including water and wastewater systems, transportation systems, energy, and chemical, makes it a critical engine for economic activity, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Agriculture also impacts economic development by contributing to the overall U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), directly and indirectly. It does so through farm production, forestry, fishing activities, textile mills and products, apparel and food and beverage sales, and service and manufacturing.

  • Farm production. The latest USDA data on farming and farming income report the U.S. had a little over 2 million farms, encompassing 897 million acres, in 2020. Farm production includes producing fruits, vegetables, plants, and varieties of crops to meet demand for agricultural products throughout the country and abroad.
  • Forestry and fishing activities. Agricultural activities include forestry and harvesting fish in water farms or in their natural habitat. Agroforestryis focused on “establishing, managing, using, and conserving forests, trees and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values,” according to the USDA. A form of fishing activity known as aquaculture involves the production of fish and other sea animals under controlled conditions to provide food.
  • Textile mills and products. The cotton industry produces $21 billion in products and services annually, according to the USDA. The industry has created various employment roles, such as growers, ginners, and buyers working on farms and in textile mills, cotton gins, offices, and warehouses.
  • Apparel and food and beverage sales. Since agriculture is a business, selling products made from agricultural production is essential. A key aspect of the sales component in agriculture is to help growers build capacity and understand the market dynamics to meet the needs of customers, many of whom care deeply about Food services and eating and drinking places accounted for 10.5 million jobs in 2020, the largest share among all categories within the agriculture and food sectors, according to the USDA.
  • Manufacturing. Agricultural products contribute to the manufacturing of a huge variety of goods, including food and beverage products, textiles, cleaning and personal products, construction materials, fuels, and more. According to the USDA, food and beverage manufacturing companies employ about 1.7 million people in the U.S.

Here in Park County, agriculture is a vibrant, important way of life for many.  According to the 2017 Census, there were 1,008 farms in Park County with the average size being 923 acres.  The percentage of sales by type is 54% being crops, and 46% being livestock, poultry, and products.

So how important is Agriculture to Park County and the United States? Agriculture offers an opportunity to improve the lives of food-insecure people and help communities develop economies that create jobs and raises incomes. Today’s agriculture also impacts future generations, pushing the boundaries of business and technology to keep Ag business vital and necessary. Future Ag will use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology. These advanced devices and precision agriculture and robotic systems will allow farms to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly, thus keeping Agriculture necessary and thriving.

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