Role of farmers becomes more critical each day

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington (1787)

Dear Fellow Kansan,
Where does your food come from? If you’re like many Americans, your answer may be the grocery store. You, I and 155 other people ate today because of one American farmer. An increase of 800 percent over the past 73 years! Where in 1940, each farmer produced enough food to feed 19 people.

We officially recognize our farmers, ranchers and all they do to make our lives better during Agriculture Week, March 23-29, 2014. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed.”

Farmers not only produce food, fiber and fuel, they contribute to a strong economy. In fact, the total impact of agriculture and agribusinesses account for 20 percent of the state’s economy, according to Kansas Inc.

I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership program. As a participant, my eyes are being further opened to the many different aspects of agricultural business and its impacts on our lives. If you’re like me, you don’t have to think very long to think of a hard-working ag producer who contributes to our way of life. Perhaps for you it’s your grandparent, an uncle, or maybe an old friend.

The role of farmers will become even more critical with the exploding world population. We reached 7 billion people in 2011. The United Nations forecasts that world population will reach 9 billion by 2050 – and that farmers will have to produce 70 percent more food than they do today.

Agriculture is this nation’s No. 1 export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy.

And it’s not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industries, all the way to the grocery store, are vital links in a chain that brings food to every citizen – and millions of people abroad.

Farms of every size are important today, regardless of whether they are feeding just their families or the world. Here’s an interesting fact from USDA numbers released on February 19, 2013: 25 percent of farms have an average of 55 acres and sales of less than $2,500.
Agriculture Week is a good time to reflect – and be grateful for – American Agriculture! This marks a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American Agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us.

Be part of America’s Agriculture, if even just for one day. Take a drive in the country with your family. There’s no prettier green than winter wheat fields waking from winter dormancy. And wave if you see a farmer. I guarantee they’ll wave back.

For more information, please visit

Happy Agriculture Week!

From KARL Class XII Members,
Lesley Schmidt, Joseph Thomas, Matt Symns and Travis Mason