Thank a Local Farmer for National Farmers Day
Brad Kelly manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.
From the early days of American culture, the process of maintaining the land for production of seasonal crops has been a huge contribution to our economy. In 2016, $135.5 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the world. The United States currently sells more food and fiber to world markets than we import. According to the American Farm Bureau, “One U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced.” Therefore, it’s more important now more than ever that we continue to support the agricultural industry.
However, did you know that farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of each dollar spent on food at home and away from home? The rest goes to costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation, and distribution.
The Farm Bureau also states that 2.1 million farms currently reside in the rural landscapes of the United States. Of those 2.1 million farms, a staggering 99% of them are owned and operated by families/individuals, family partnerships, or family corporations. Since farming was the main method of subsistence for American families in the early 1900’s, it seems that the family unit has remained as the backbone of the American farm and business model today. However, only 2% of the U.S. population is comprised of farm and ranch families.
But thanks to a new generation of farmers, those stats could quickly increase over the next few years. Millennials currently contribute 257,454 farmers to the American farmer population. More than 20% of all farmers today are considered beginners— which means they’ve been farming for less than 10 years. This bodes well for the future of agriculture as the younger generations continue the tradition of various farming practices.
So, before you enjoy your next meal today, take a quick moment to think about the work that went into growing, raising, cultivating, and processing the foods you enjoy. Join us on this National Farmers Day, and thank a local farmer! Be sure to tag #ThankAFarmer on social media today as well.