National Agriculture Week is celebrated every year in March on dates announced by the Agriculture Council of America. This year the holiday commences on March 17 and ends on 23. The week celebrates and acknowledges the agricultural industry and the role it plays in stabilizing the economy. The holiday gives thanks to the industry as a whole for being a source of abundant food, fiber, and renewable products. It also provides millions with stable jobs and careers. It also emphasizes the efforts made by those involved in agriculture for providing us with necessities that most of us take for granted.
History of National Ag Week
Agriculture is the biggest food contributor in America. America is the net exporter of food, which means that this industry is a source of food and wealth. The rich history of agriculture in the U.S. attracted colonists to the area. Since most colonists were European, the styles of agricultural cultivation and production were Europe influenced as well. Colonists also brought a large amount of livestock with them to America, which caused changes in its natural landscape.
As the population grew, farms expanded, and settlements moved from the east into the west. This caused the agricultural industry to grow exponentially, with a larger variety of produce being rooted. Once the west was populated and cultivated, a wheat frontier was formed. The east was firmly set on cattle and livestock with only a handful of small-scale crops. On the other hand, the south was dominated by tobacco and cotton. Lastly, the north was dominated by people who planted only what they needed, anything in excess was sold to the market.
It was only during the Civil War and the Second World War that the agricultural system became centralized, and a proper agricultural system was introduced. The Agriculture Council of America, formed in 1973, has supported the farmers and agricultural advancements in farming techniques in the U.S. It comprises influential leaders in agriculture, food, and farming who work together as a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the world on the importance of agriculture in American Society.
At the same time when the council was formed, the first National Agriculture Day was also introduced, which soon developed into an entire week-long celebration. National Agriculture Week has been celebrated ever since, with full enthusiasm to support agriculture and spread awareness about the potential and vitality of agriculture.
National Ag Week timeline
The House of Representatives creates an Agriculture Committee in the U.S.
President Abraham Lincoln forms the United States Department of Agriculture, also called the “People’s Department.”
Leaders of agriculture in America unite and create a council to support and spread awareness of the vitality of agriculture.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the annual income of farmers in the U.S. soars 77% higher than that of the income of other Americans.
National Ag Week FAQs
How important is agriculture to the economy?
Agriculture is described as a wellspring of the economy. A strong and healthy agricultural system provides the food supply for the nation, but it also provides the other raw material for the industry that supports the economy. It brings self-sustenance to a country.
What are the types of agriculture?
Based on the socio-economic and geographical conditions, there are two main types of agriculture: subsistence farming and commercial farming — the variants of agriculture range from being crop-oriented to livestock-oriented or adopting a mix of both. The levels at which farms operate are based upon the living standard and wealth of the farmer.
How many people in the U.S. are involved in agriculture?
While farmland may stretch far and wide, the actual percentage of the U.S. population involved in agriculture is only 1.3%, or 2.6 million people.
How to Observe National Ag Week
Attend a local event
The local farmers union or bureau would have organized an event for the week. Participate in the local event or simply attend it.
Talk about it on social media
Talk about the importance of agriculture and contribute to spreading awareness and being proud of the farmers. Make it a trend on social media and invite others to the cause.
Visit a farm
The celebration lasts for a week during which you can go visit a farm on which you can procure the products for your needs. During this, talk with the farmer and appreciate him for his services.
5 Interesting Facts About Agriculture Everyone Should Know
22 million people
There are 22 million people employed in the agriculture sector.
Feeds 144 people
Today every farmer feeds 144 people as compared to the one farmer for 25 people in the 1960s.
The average time a farmer operator spends on the farm in a lifetime is 58.3 years.
The average farm size in the U.S. is about 434 acres.
11% are Ex-army personnel
11% of the farmers in the U.S. previously served in the army.
Why National Ag Week is Important
It honors the farmers
This holiday is an official statement of appreciation to all farmers and employees of the agricultural industry. It is through their efforts that the nation can sustain itself.
It promotes agriculture
It serves to promote agriculture as a good source of income and as a field of research and technological advancement. Agriculture has seen a decline in the interest of people as urbanization increases. So to get the interest back towards agriculture this week is a good idea to promote agriculture and its benefits.
It spreads awareness
From seven million farmers and ranchers in the 1950s to only 2.6 million in 2017, people are losing interest in agriculture. They are moving to more urban settlements for jobs that are of urban lifestyles. This means that in the years to come, the agricultural industry will have very few people employed, which might cause a problem for the country. So awareness about this fact needs to be spread.
National Ag Week dates