They’re the lifeblood of America. The men and women who work in the searing heat and bitter cold to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs. And in celebration of National Agriculture Day, Farm Bureau Financial Services is proud to salute our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
We could go on for days with all the reasons we’re thankful for America’s farmers and ranchers, but we’ve listed just a small handful below. We invite you to join in our celebration and tell us what, or whom, you’re thankful for on our Facebook page.
Agriculture Benefits That Will Make You Want to Thank a Farmer
1. Quality food is never father away than a trip to the grocery store.
Many Americans enjoy an abundant food supply that’s just a short drive away, thanks to the hard work of farmers. Did you know that an acre of Kansas wheat produces enough bread to feed nearly 9,000 people for one day? And that Minnesota ranks first in the nation for sugar beet crops, sweet corn for processing and green peas for processing? (Sources: National Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Department of Agriculture)
2. A classic hamburger with a side of French fries is often just around the corner.
About 60 percent of Idaho's potato crop is processed into French fries, tater tots, other fried products, or dehydrated into flakes. And hamburger from a single steer will make about 720 quarter-pound hamburgers. Did you know Kansas ranks third in the nation for hamburger production at 5 billion pounds produced in 2015? (Sources: Idaho Farm Bureau, Iowa Farm Bureau, Kansas Department of Agriculture)
3. You can spend an evening drawing and coloring with your kids.
Many take for granted the everyday products farmers produce for a use other than food. For example, soybeans are an important ingredient for the production of crayons. In fact, one acre of soybeans can produce 82,358 crayons. (Source: Farmers Feed Us)
In spite of the crayons, soybeans are one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. This is because soybeans contain more protein per acre of land than any other crop, in addition to other vitamins and nutrients. States like Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota help our nation produce 47% of the global soybean crop.
4. You have a favorite pair of blue jeans.
From jeans to t-shirts, if your closet is full of cotton apparel, then you should thank a farmer! Arizona cotton farms produce enough top-grade cotton annually to make one pair of jeans for every single American. (Source: Arizona Farm Bureau)
And don’t forget to thank sheep farmers for your cozy wool sweaters and scarves; today’s modern wool garments are comfortable and easy to maintain, making them a closet staple for many Americans. Hats off to our top wool-producing states: Colorado, Utah, Texas, California and Wyoming.
5. You're famous for your recipe for cherry pie.
In Utah, about 2 billion cherries are harvested yearly, and approximately 4,800 acres of agricultural land is used for cherry production. It’s the Utah state fruit! (Source: Pioneer: Utah’s Online Library)
6. You can enjoy your favorite weekend brunch any time you want.
Bacon and sausage are breakfast staples, and they wouldn’t be so readily available without the dedicated pork producers in states like Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. Did you know that Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the U.S. and the top state for pork exports? Also, in Nebraska, there are more than 3.1 million pigs.
7. Farmers support the global economy and our neighbors around the world.
According to the American Farm Bureau, $133.1 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the world in 2015. Wheat is Montana’s #1 export, with nearly 75 percent of it sent to Asian markets. Also, pork is the most widely-eaten meat in the world. (Sources: Montana Department of Agriculture, Farmers Feed Us)
8. You put honey in your tea.
Did you know that 2016 was the twelfth consecutive year North Dakota ranked first in the nation for honey production? The state has approximately 490,000 bee colonies that produced 9.43 million pounds of honey last year. The honey operations for 2016 were valued at $65 million as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.
9. You enjoy a bag of sunflower seeds at a baseball field.
North Dakota and South Dakota are the number one and two producers of sunflowers. Around 610,000 acres of sunflowers were harvested last year and processed into sunflower oil which can be used from everything like cooking oil to an ingredient in beauty products. The rest of the sunflower crop – around 55,000 acres – was used for non-oil purposes.
10. You can fry up an old favorite for dinner.
If you’re a fan of onion rings, fries, fish and chips or fried chicken, then you probably owe a big thank you to the top two canola producing states; North Dakota and Oklahoma. Combined, these two states produced over 90 percent of our canola in 2016, as reported in the USDA’s Crop Production Summary.
Agriculture Fast Facts
About 97 percent of U.S. farms are operated by families, according to the American Farm Bureau. Check out these other fascinating ag facts from some states where we do business:
You can get your greens in Arizona! The state ranks second in the U.S. in head lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli production. (Source: Arizona Farm Bureau)
Cattle outnumber Nebraskans nearly 4 to 1. The state is the nation’s top producer of commercial red meat. (Source: Nebraska Beef Council)
Pecans have recently become one of New Mexico’s most valuable commodities, generating over $100M annually. (Source: New York Times)
Agriculture employs more than 24 million American workers (17% of the total U.S. workforce). (Source: Farmers Feed Us)
Dairy contributes more to the Wisconsin economy ($20.6B) than citrus to Florida ($9B) or potatoes to Idaho ($2.5B). (Source: Wisconsin Farm Bureau)
Farmers and ranchers provide critical winter habitat for 75% of Wyoming’s wildlife. (Source: Wyoming Farm Bureau)
Nationally, Utah ranks 2nd in mink, 5th in sheep, and 13th in trout production. Source: Utah Dept. of Ag & Food
Celebrate National Agriculture Day and Thank a Farmer
At Farm Bureau Financial Services, we’re proud of our agricultural roots and proud to serve farmers and ranchers across the country. This National Agriculture Day, take a moment to celebrate with us and say thanks.