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Set time aside to ‘Thank a Farmer’

By Diane Olson

Super Bowl 46 captured media attention for weeks before, during and after the game. Magazines and television commercials provided easy to prepare recipes for the special gathering of friends. Team clothing stores beckoned fans to support their team and show their colors.
What a party! But wait, without agriculture, would it ever have happened? Agricultural products and co-products are an integral part of the game, the team clothing and the parties. From the football to the turf, the uniforms and the helmets, all have a connection to agriculture and a farm somewhere. People attending the game traveled in vehicles or planes utilizing parts made from or fueled by agricultural products.
Oh, and what parties we throw for this special game! Chicken wings, pizza, cheese, crackers, chips, vegetables and dip – they, too, are from farms. The party beverages consumed have ties to agriculture as well.
Missouri Farm Bureau and its members are having a week-long party Feb. 5-11. It’s Thank A Farmer Week. This celebration promotes the importance of agriculture and the farmers who work 24/7 to provide products we all enjoy daily.
Agriculture is often the silent ingredient in our lives. We tend to take for granted the variety of food items from which we have to choose each day. But food is only a small part of what farmers give us. Agriculture is the source of many medical and school supplies. It also is a major supplier of clothes and things for our homes. Many plastics, for example, are derived from agricultural products. More than 21 million American workers, 15 percent of the total U.S. workforce, find work in producing, processing and selling the nation’s agricultural products.
Farm and ranch families comprise slightly less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, yet they produce items for the world. They value preserving the land, caring for the animals and being good neighbors. Today, one farmer produces enough food and fiber for 154 people in the United States and abroad. This means that fewer people make their living from farming, yet all of us rely on its products for our existence.
Throughout history, we have relied on agriculture, just in different ways. Agriculture is a cause to celebrate every day. Join us in saying thank you to the farmers who supply so much, and without the fanfare of the Super Bowl.

(Diane Olson is director of promotion and education for Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.)

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