On March 19th, we encourage you to celebrate National Ag Day by taking a few minutes out of your day to be thankful for the Arizona farmers and ranchers that provide and protect our local food supply. This day, which falls during National Agriculture Week, was established in 1973 to acknowledge the role agriculture plays in each of our lives. This industry does more than just provide food for us to fill our plates. The agriculture industry provides millions of jobs, produces feed for our animals, fuel for our cars, and fiber to create the clothes on our backs. As you crack an egg at breakfast, slip on a cotton shirt, or sear a steak for dinner, pause, reflect, and recognize the efforts of each individual that works hard to ensure the abundance of America’s agriculture continues to make all those things possible.
Here are 8 reasons to celebrate American agriculture this year:
- The agriculture industry is responsible for 1 out of every 12 American jobs.
- Agriculture ensures access to a safe, reliable, affordable food supply for the U.S. and for much of the world.
- Our farmers and ranchers are the most productive in the world.
- Our agriculture industry makes it possible for us to only spend 6 or 7 cents out of every household dollar on food which is significantly less than most other countries and half as much as countries like Japan and Italy.
- American farmers and ranchers have embraced the need for environmental protection and their efforts have decreased soil erosion by 40% over the past 30 years.
- The agriculture industry also leads the nation in wetland restoration efforts.
- Farmland helps clean our water, clean our air, and creates carbon sinks that can help combat climate change.
- Our farmers and ranchers have embraced alternative energy production and many are providers of alternative energy sources from wind and biofuel.
Here in Arizona, agriculture also plays an important role in economic development, food security, and conservation efforts. Agriculture is a $12.4 billion dollar industry in our state! Arizona agriculture provides 60,000 non-seasonal jobs and is one of the only industries that exports more to other states than it imports. Both of these factors help support and improve the Arizona economy. Throughout the state, farmers and ranchers produce a diverse range of crops and livestock. This diversity paired with our year-round growing season provides a stable, reliable, and accessible food system and helps ensure sustainable long-term food security. From the farmer’s market to the grocery store shelves, Arizona agriculture means access to affordable, locally grown produce, meat, eggs and dairy almost all year round.
Our local farmers and ranchers are committed to making safe, high-quality crop and livestock products available for local consumption and use. You can support their efforts and contribute by buying local products at the farmer’s market and grocery store. When you choose local products, you support the Arizona economy, support the farmers and ranchers, and reduce the environmental impact of every meal you make.
- Ask a Farmer: Questions Moms Ask Arizona Farmers & Ranchers (fillyourplate.org)
- A Spark of Optimism for Ag Labor Reform (fillyourplate.org)
- What’s in Season: March (fillyourplate.org)