We’ve said it before, let me say it again. America’s farmers and ranchers feed the world. Truly, they do!
To give an example of how American farmers and ranchers are helping to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population, take a look at this. The U.S.D.A. reported that, in 2012 alone, the U.S. sold $3.9 billion in potatoes, $1.1 billion in apples, and $77 billion in corn products to consumers in the U.S. and around the world. Additionally, we sold $17.9 billion in wheat and $5.9 billion in cotton, $1.3 billion in dry beans. These are huge numbers. And, the list of crops our country produces goes on and on, all the way down to lettuces and seed crops. Just think of the millions and millions of mouths we feed.
Every state in our union has crops that are suited specifically to its soil and climate, as well as specialty crops grown no where else. Agricultural sales abroad support a long list of domestic jobs, and are an enormous benefit to our nation’s economy.
These global sales are made possible because America’s farms and ranches produce more high-quality agricultural products than can be consumed by Americans alone. We are able to share this bounty with families around the world through entrepreneurship and hard work. This is incredible, considering the mounting pressures on farmers and ranchers. These pressures include excess regulations and paperwork requirements, tax uncertainties, high input costs, limited water, and emerging pest, plant and animal diseases.
Think farmers are just ole’ hayseeds? Nay, nay! The farming industry is one of the greatest users of exciting new technology. Technological advances have soared in the agriculture field. Satellite images allow farmers to spot problems in their fields. Drones are now becoming helpmates to farmers, allowing them to look at every square inch of their crop without having to enter the field. Smart phone app opportunities are endless, with communication, irrigation, soils, field and lab testing, scheduling, price reports all available wherever the farmer may be, whether he is in his kitchen, or out in the back 40.
As we ponder our nation’s economic future, we should applaud the immense advancements of America’s agricultural products into world markets, resulting from the hard work in ingenuity of our farmers and ranchers, and serving as an example of timeless perserverence of the generations.
To insure that America’s high-quality food is able to reach those who need it, we must create a supporting environment for growth, and eliminate unnecessary obstacles, so as to best enable American farmers and ranchers to continue to meet local, regional and world food demands.
USDA Crop Values, 2012
Senator Mike Crapo, Capital Press, January 3rd, 2014