‘Stronger Farms Make Stronger Communities’ is Ag Awareness Day theme

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2019

Rowan County Cooperative Extension

“Stronger Farms Make Stronger Communities” is the theme for 2019 Agriculture Awareness Day in North Carolina on March 20.

In addition to educating elected representatives about agriculture, Ag Awareness Day is an opportunity for communities, farmers, agribusinesses, universities and agriculture students to provide a unified voice on the importance of North Carolina’s No. 1 industry.

It is imperative to express our appreciation to North Carolina legislators for their prior support and communicate how critical agriculture is to the state. Now more than ever, we need to cultivate and strengthen our relationships in the General Assembly.

Here are some reasons everyone should be more aware of agriculture and agribusinesses.

• One American farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced.

• Farmers and ranchers receive only 15 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution. In 1980, farmers and ranchers received 31 cents.

• The millennial generation (people 34 and younger) includes 257,454 farmers.

• More than 20 percent of all farmers are beginning farmers in business less than 10 years.

• In 2016, $135.5 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the world. The United States sells more food and fiber to world markets than it imports, creating a positive agricultural trade balance.

• About 25 percent of U.S. farm products by value are exported each year.

• About 8 percent of U.S. farms market foods locally, through direct-to-consumer or intermediated sales.

• Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable overall and among the world’s safest, thanks in large part to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families.

Rowan County ranks second in the state for strawberry production and third in tomatoes. It ranks eighth for dairy and 11th for beef cattle. For 2017, cash receipts agriculture and agribusiness accounted for a little more than $76 million.

On March 21, Rowan County Cooperative Extension and the Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Agriculture Awareness Breakfast as part of the chamber’s Power in Partnership breakfast at West End Plaza.

The keynote speaker this year is Linda Andrews, N.C. Farm Bureau’s national legislative director. She will speak on the 2018 Farm Bill and issues facing agriculture.

This is a great opportunity for our agricultural community to network with our business community. The breakfast is free for all farm and agribusiness operators.

To register, call 704-216-8970 or go online to go.ncsu.edu/19farmersappreciationbreakfast.