Our fifth grade daughter recently asked me to review a homework project, which was vastly different than the homework I grew up doing. This project required her to develop a quiz online that participants could take by mobile device. After reviewing the project, she asked me to develop one about any topic of my choosing. I chose agriculture.
One of the questions I crafted: in addition to farming and ranching, what jobs are available to those who pursue a career in agriculture? Journalist, lender, economist, food scientist…of course, the answers could not be squeezed into the four available multiple choice slots.
There are many hardworking men and women involved in agriculture each day. These include our farmers and ranchers who provide food, feed, fuel, and fiber to a growing world population. Their investments are great, and so are their risks.
There are many others whose important contributions occur in less obvious ways. In crop insurance, those who patiently guide agricultural producers with risk management planning, those who provide service in times of need to aid with timely claims indemnities, and many, many more behind the scenes.
In my next question, I asked: from what does milk originate – the grocery store, the delivery truck, cows?
And while milk most certainly comes from cows and is made available thanks to the tireless efforts of dairy producers, the transportation system, agribusinesses, and retailers are all also necessary to the end result of getting milk safely to consumers.
Agriculture benefits from those who invest time and resources into the agricultural infrastructure, research and innovation, food safety, product development, crop and livestock protection, as well as market promotion.
In a final question, I asked what “USDA” represents. The scope of USDA – from production agriculture to school lunch – is quite impressive, truly a farm to table government organization. USDA is able to serve many across the food chain and beyond, because of the willingness of many to serve in those roles.
To each of these and many more, we applaud you on this National Agriculture Day. Thank you for your contributions to agriculture.