National Farmers Day
I believe in agriculture because it is quite literally one of the single most important things that keeps the world going. I come from many generations of farming here in rural Kansas. My family started farming in the 1860s, and I continue to farm with my dad and uncle to this day on the same farm that was homesteaded so long ago. If a person really wants to look in-depth at farming, it’s quite impressive to see how much farming has evolved over time.
Farming was believed to have started in Egypt between 4000 BC and 10,000 BC. The Egyptians farmed everything by hand. Now, 6,000 years later, we have a booming agricultural industry in the United States. We’re now using tools that enable us to farm thousands of acres a year to feed an ever-growing population.
If you look at agriculture as a whole, it’s impressive to see the impact it has on our everyday life. Agriculture is one of the largest industries in our state with meat packing and processing being the largest part of it all. In Kansas, about 13% of our population is employed in the agriculture sector. That means that there are almost 254,000 people in our state that work an agricultural job day in and day out. In 2018, farming generated over 18.7 billion dollars’ worth of income in Kansas alone while generating 66.3 billion dollars in the U.S.
Not only does agriculture employ hundreds of thousands of Kansans, we also have a very large number of young Kansans looking to get into agriculture. The Kansas FFA Organization has nearly 10,000 members and grows every year. FFA is a program that I hold near and dear because I was very active in it when I was in high school. It teaches our students hard work, good ethics, and problem-solving skills necessary to any path they may take when they complete their education. I have known many people who went into FFA knowing little to nothing about agriculture and emerged from their 4-year experience in high school ending up going to college for an agriculture-related major and then pursuing a job in the agriculture sector.
From education to putting food on the table and jobs in the world, agriculture is a very important part of all our daily lives. With harvest coming up, remember to take a deep breath when you get behind a tractor, combine, or slow-moving grain truck, and put a smile on your face because you’re watching your meal and someone else’s livelihood go down the road one field at a time!
Kansas Department of Agriculture, (August 2021), Kansas Agriculture, Kansas Department of Agriculture, https://agriculture.ks.gov/about-kda/kansas-agriculture
Kansas FFA Association, (2021), Ways to Help Kansas FFA, Kansas FFA, https://www.ksffa.org/ways-to-help/
Congressional Research Service, (December 11, 2018), U.S. Farm Income Outlook for 2018, https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R45117