One Fifth

Believe it or not, agriculture makes up 1/5 of our economy!

A nationwide economic impact study recently released found that 20.4% of the nation’s economy is linked, either directly or indirectly, to the food and agriculture sectors.  More than one fourth (28%) are similarly connected.

This study was commissioned by 22 food and agriculture organizations.  The economic data was compiled by John Dunham & Associates.  The considered jobs, wages, taxes and export data, broken down state-by-state.

For the complete report, go to:

Among the most important findings:

Total jobs:  43,311,05
Total wages:  $1.9 Trillion
Total taxes:  $894.13 Billion
Exports:  $146.32 Billion
Total Food & Industry Economic Impact:  $6.7 Trillion

It has long been recognized that the food and agriculture industries plan a critical role not only in feeding Americans, but also in feeding and growing the nation’s economy.  These numbers tell the story, reminding us that food and agriculture remain central to our nation’s well-being.  We not only produce three meals each day for Americans, that same industry supports one-in-four American jobs – 28% of all jobs are tied to ag.

-RamCAD, Market Intelligence Report


Posted in Ag Production, Biotechnology, Education, Farmers, Feeding the World, For Kids, GMOs, Technology, Work | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thought of the Week


Bags of beans, lentils and peas. Yum! Photo source

Join the health movement, and eat
1/2 Cup pulse foods each and every day.
These are garbanzos, lentils, dry peas, dry beans.

Posted in Dry Beans, For Kids, Garbanzos, Peas, Pulse Crops, Thought of the Week | Leave a comment

Buy Good Beef!

We have heard the term “hanging beef,” or “aged beef” when we go to the butcher’s counter.  What does this mean?  Hanging or aging beef is an extensive culinary process, and worth it!

Dry aged beef is more expensive than fresh, but when it’s aged right, you will remember every bite.  Throughout history, meat has been hung and dry aged after butchers discovered that this method makes beef more tender and flavorful than meat eaten immediately after its preparation.


Dry aged beef at Flannery Beef

Beef, lamb and pork can all be aged, though the length of time each species is hung is different, the processes are the same.   We’re highlighting beef today. 

Aging beef involves hanging the meat after the hide, head and innards have been removed, and the animal has been split in half, but before each half has been cut into retail cuts.  Each side hangs by the hind legs off huge hooks from rails in a large walk-in cooler (giant refrigerator).  The meat hanging room is temperature controlled between 33-37 degrees F.  This small window in temperature protects the meat from spoilage:  Too hot, and the process of dry aging stops.  Too cold and the water in the meat freezes.

Because the water in the meat needs to slowly evaporate, the humidity of the room is kept at 85%.  To prevent bacteria from developing, the room is kept well ventilated.  All this is regulated to ensure that the meat doesn’t spoil, and that the aging process is working properly.

Processes continue in the meat that would normally cease in a dead animal.  The muscles in the meat continue to use oxygen that is in the proteins of the blood.  This normal biological process creates a chemical by-product known as lactic acid.  Since blood is no longer being circulated through the body, lactic acid starts to break down muscle and connective tissue around it.  These enzymatic reactions tenderize the meat, concentrating the flavor and create richly complex, minerally flavors.

After hanging a minimum of 11 days, the meat will taste noticably better.  The longer the meat is hung, the better the flavor – usually between 20 and 30 days.  Of course, all this aging causes the meat to shrink, because much of the water has evaporated – often a shrinkage of 10-15% in weight and size!

The color of the meat will change, too, from bright red to a purply color, and will be much firmer than fresh meat.


Dry aged and fresh beef steaks. Photo source

As you may imagine, this aging costs money.  We may have to go to a specialty butcher to buy aged beef, or buy it by the 1/4 or 1/2 animal right from the rancher.  But is it worth it?  Every nickel!  The result is that when grilled or roasted, the beef releases the most heavenly rich flavor that we all love, whether it’s a hamburger or a ribeye!



Posted in #lamb, Ag Production, Beef, Education, Feeding the World, For Kids, Livestock Production, Ranchers | Leave a comment

Thought of the Week

“It takes no more time to see
the good side of life than to see the bad.”

-Jimmy Buffett

Posted in Education, Farmers, Feeding the World, For Kids, Thought of the Week | Leave a comment

Thought of the Week

“Big dreams yield big rewards.”

-Tim McGreevy, CEO American Pulse Association

Posted in Dry Beans, For Kids, Garbanzos, Horses, Lentils, Peas, Pulse Crops, Thought of the Week, Work | Leave a comment

The Activist Italian Farmer

Here’s an interesting something for you.  The European Union court has ruled in favor of an Italian activist farmer who has defied his nation’s law by planting genetically modified corn.

Italy had prosecuted Giorgio Fidenato for cultivating the corn on his land, citing concerns the crop could endanger human health.  But the European Court of Justice ruled last September 13th that a member state as Italy doesn’t have the right to ban GM crops given that there is no scientific reason for doing so.  It noted the European Commission in 1998 authorized the use of the specific maize seeds Fidenato planted, finding “no reason to believe that that product would have any adverse effects on human health or the environment.”

Fidenato, who farms in northeastern Italy, became persuaded of the benefits of genetically modified crops during a 1990 visit to the U.S., where he learned that they require fewer chemicals than traditional crops, and produce higher yields.  He has faced huge opposition in Italy, where many are fearful that GM altered crops are less natural than traditional crops.  He has faced both fines from his government, and the wrath of anti-GM activists, who have destroyed his crops.

In 2013, Italy asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures prohibiting the planting of the GM seeds, which are produced by the U.S. company, Monsanto, on the basis of Italian studies.  But the Commission disputed the Italian studies, citing a scientific opinion by the European Food Safety Authority that there was “no new science-based evidence” that GM seeds are not dangerous.

After the ruling, Fidenato expressed satisfaction with the decision, saying he and other farmers involved in the suit finally feel as if “justice is on our side.”

Capital Press, Sept. 22, 2017


Farmer Fidenato in a field of corn destroyed by an anti-GMO group. 

Posted in Ag Production, Biotechnology, Corn, Education, Farmers, Feeding the World, For Kids, GMOs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Winter at Bald Butte

Thought you’d like to see this snap of Bald Butte Ranch, taken just this week.  This photo shows the bunkhouse, shop, pumphouse and pastures behind.  Everything is buttoned up!


All that snow turns into moisture, which goes into the ground, and will sub-irrigate the pastures and fields this next season.

Posted in Education, For Kids, Soil, Water | Leave a comment

Thought of the Week

“Write it on your heart that
every day is the best day in the year.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted in #faith, Education, Farm Families, Farmers, Feeding the World, For Kids, Thought of the Week | Leave a comment

Did You Notice?

The U.S. Olympic team is wearing American Wool to stay warm at the Pyeongchang Olympics this winter.  Have you seen the smart looking outfits?  Be on the lookout for them tonight!

Ralph Lauren was commissioned to design arctic-worthy and stylish outfits for our Olympians, for both the opening and closing ceremonies.  Lauren knows fabric – especially the warmth of wool.  Naturally, he went to the American Wool Industry as his supplier.  The National Spinning Company used wool from the Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon, which was then blended with a variety of soft wools from throughout the United States, to create the yarn for several items included in the official U.S. team outfits.

The opening ceremony outfit includes a 100% American wool hat, as well as a sweater made from 70% American wool and 30% American alpaca.

February 2018 SIN Cover

This is the closing ceremonies outfit – sharp, just like our athletes!

Wool has an even larger presence in the official outfit of closing ceremonies, where U.S. olympians will wear a sweater, hat and mittens all made from 100% American wool.

Wool producers know the attributes of wool for cold weather wear, and refer to it as a “miracle fiber.”  The American Sheep Industry is proud to have their product used to keep our olympians warm, and to represent wool producers at this Winter’s Olympics.  Thank you, wool producers of America!


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We all love pizza, and with good reason – it’s fully balanced, really, as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the calories.  You will be happy to know that your pizza comes from America’s farms and ranches.  Americans consume more than 3,000,000,000 pizzas each year – the average family eats pizza at home 30 times each year!


A delicious pizza from Hagerstown Pizza in Maryland. I’d eat that everyday!

Following is the list of the top producing states for the main pizza ingredients:

Onions – are grown in California, Colorado and Georgia

Tomatoes – (for the sauce), comes from California and Florida

Mushrooms – are grown in Pennsylvania and California


Mushroom harvest at Phillips Mushroom Farms in Pennsylvania

Wheat – (for the dough), comes from Washington, Kansas and Oklahoma (mostly winter wheat)

Chicken – is raised in Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama

Sausage, Pepperoni & Canadian Bacon – (which comes from hogs), is raised in Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina

Pepperoni(from beef) – is raised mostly in Texas, Nebraska and Kansas

Pineapple – where else but Hawaii, of course!


A field of pineapple in Maui County, Hawaii

Spinach – is grown in the Salinas Valley of California, and also Arizona

Green Peppers – come from California and Florida

Mozzarella Cheese – (a dairy product, from milk cows), is produced in California, Wisconsin and New York

Do you notice that California is the producer of many of these food products – plus thousands more.  If you don’t think California agriculture is vital to our nation’s food supply, think again!  It’s the largest agricultural state in the union, and its ag. sector alone is one of the largest economies in the world.

Just for fun, as you prepare and eat your meals this week, think of the farmers and ranchers, all across our country who produced each ingredient.  Hundreds of crops, thousands of farms and ranches, millions of farmers and ranchers produce all of our food for us to eat and enjoy.



-USDA-NASS, American Pizza community, American Farm Bureau Federation for Agriculture


Posted in Ag exports, Ag Production, Education, Farmers, Feeding the World, For Kids, Livestock Production, Ranchers, Wheat | Tagged , | Leave a comment