Photo courtesy of map.tarleton.edu
What is Agriculture? This is a surprising question many people ask when the word “agriculture” comes up in a conversation.
According to National Geographic, Agriculture is the art and science of cultivating the soil, growing crops and raising livestock. To most involved agriculture is much more than that.
Civilization began with agriculture, and though humanity has changed significantly, agriculture still remains very important. In certain countries, its significance is more obvious, but the reality is that every country in the world depends on agriculture for one thing or another.
Agricultural crops that are turned into products fall into one of four groups: foods, fuels, fibers or raw materials. Roughly 11 percent of the planet’s land is dedicated to crop production, and close to 26 percent is being used for animal pastures.
Agricultural products can also be used to produce specific fuel. Ethanol is produced from corn, sugarcane, or sorghum. This is the agricultural fuel product in widest use.
For decades, agriculture was solely looked at for the production of essential food crops. Although, over time, agriculture has gone above and beyond crop farming. Agriculture now consists of forestry, dairy, fruit cultivation, poultry, beekeeping and other arbitrary uses.
Agriculture is involved in our everyday lives, believe it or not. Whether you are from the country or the city, something in your everyday life has to do with the agriculture industry.
Agriculture is very important to our Nation as a whole. From the milk you drink, food you consume, all the way down to the clothes you wear have all been a product of the agriculture industry.
The agriculture industry provides most of the world’s food and fabrics. Cotton, in the pants, wool in the shirt and leather in the shoes you have all came from the agriculture industry. Wood for construction of buildings, and paper for the exam you have next week also all came from the agriculture industry.
This leads agriculture to being referred to as the production, processing, promotion and distribution of agriculture related products. In addition to providing food and raw material, agriculture also provides employment opportunities to the entire population.
Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050. Growth in the agriculture sector is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest compared to other sectors. Analysis in 2016 found that 65 percent of poor working adults made a living through agriculture.
Agriculture is also crucial to economic growth: in 2018, it accounted for 4 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and in some developing countries, it can account for more than 25 percent of GDP.
But agriculture-driven growth, poverty reduction and food security are at risk. Climate change could cut crop yields, especially in the world’s most food-insecure regions. Agriculture, forestry and land use change are responsible for about 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Agriculture plays a very critical role in the entire life of a given economy. Agriculture can be considered the backbone of our nation and economy, without it, we would not have many of the abundant resources that we have at our fingertips today.
It is important to remember that the agriculture industry reflects our future as a nation. Economic development is tied to a country’s agriculture sector. When trade, national revenue and employment are combined in a positive way, a country enjoys reduced poverty and boosted economic growth. Agriculture drives innovation in technology, stands as the source of our food supply, and it plays a very important role in our nation’s international trade.
Agricultural products such as sugar, tea, rice, spices, coffee and tobacco are many of the major items that export countries rely on when it comes to agriculture in the United States.
National Agriculture Day is typically celebrated through the week of March 22 to the 28. It is a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America take time to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.
National Agriculture Day is on March 24, 2021. It is the 48 anniversary of National Ag Day, and is the most important time to celebrate agriculture and all those who feed our world, care for crops and livestock, produce wood for our buildings and bring awareness to agricultural production all over the world.
National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.
If you would like to listen in on government leaders about the agriculture industry’s economic growth opportunities and how the future will be shaped by lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, then you can go online to agday.org/virtual-event to register and receive more information. Information on agriculture and how it is related to our everyday life can be found at agday.org as well.