National Ag Week is March 20-26 with National Ag Day March 22. It’s a time to celebrate agriculture. Agriculture remains the number-one industry for Montana, outpacing mining, tourism and forestry products along with oil and gas. Montana agriculture is diverse and known throughout the world for its wheat, beef, pulse crops and barley, plus local farmers and ranchers produce plenty of other agricultural products including bees/honey, cherries, sugar beets, corn, canola, seed potatoes, dairy products, hogs, chickens/eggs and more.
“American farmers and ranchers provide safe and nutritious food for consumers in this country and across the world,” noted MFBF President Cyndi Johnson, a Conrad wheat farmer. “What’s impressive is so many farmers and ranchers are producing more food with fewer inputs and less environmental impact. Even now, with the high cost and shortages of inputs, be assured that America’s farmers and ranchers will continue to keep food on your table. That’s truly a reason to celebrate.”
Ag Facts to remember:
- One U.S. farm produces food and fiber for 172 people. Of those, 106 are in the U.S., 66 are outside of the U.S.
- There are 3.4 million U.S. farmers and ranchers who work on 2 million farms/ranches. They run the farm, making decisions about planting, harvesting, feeding, marketing and so on.
- Today 98 percent of all U.S. farms are owned by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations. Just 2 percent of America’s farms and ranches are owned by non-family corporations or other entities. Approximately 90 percent of farms are small, defined by the USDA as having an annual gross cash farm income under $250,000.
- Eighty-six percent of U.S. ag products sold are produced on family farms or ranches. Non-family corporations or other entities account for only 14 percent of U.S. ag product sales.
- In 2020, $150.03 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the globe. The top three customers, accounting for 45 percent of exports, were China, Canada and Mexico.
- Farmers and ranchers receive only 14 cents (on average) out of every retail dollar spent on food.
To celebrate National Ag Day, American Farm Bureau will be part of the “Celebration of Modern Agriculture” exhibits being held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. March 21-22. The winners of the Montana Farm Bureau Ag in Color Drawing Contest will attend an educational field trip to Helena from March 24-25 with their families. They will enjoy a pizza party as well as tours of a local ranch, the capitol building and the Department of Livestock, and will meet with Lieutenant Governor Kristin Juras.