Farmers are the backbone of America. They are the men and women who work in the searing heat and bitter cold to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs. They rise with the sun to tend to crops and stay up late to review accounts. They fight off invasive insects and battle unpredictable weather.
Without our farmers and ranchers, where would we be? At Farm Bureau, we understand the importance of farmers, and we’re proud to salute our nation’s farmers and ranchers for all of the reasons they make our lives better.
1. Farmers Provide Access to Food
Many Americans enjoy an abundant food supply thanks to farmers’ hard work. Did you know that an acre of Kansas wheat produces enough bread to feed nearly 9,000 people for one day? Or that Minnesota ranks first in the nation for sugar beet crops, sweet corn for processing and green peas for processing?
2. They Supply the Ingredients for Classic American Dishes
Without farmers, we wouldn’t have burgers and fries. About 60 percent of Idaho's potato crop is processed into French fries, tater tots and other fried goodies. A single steer can produce about 720 quarter-pound hamburgers, and in Nebraska, the nation’s top producer of commercial red meat, cattle outnumber Nebraskans nearly four to one. And then there’s cherry pie, a beloved American dessert. Utah alone harvests 2 billion cherries per year.
3. One Word: Crayons
Farmers do more than provide food. For example, soybeans are an important ingredient in the production of crayons. In fact, one acre of soybeans can produce 82,358 crayons. Beyond their use in crayons, soybeans are one of the most widely consumed foods in the world, partly because they contain more protein per acre than any other crop.
4. Your Wardrobe Wouldn’t Be the Same Without Them
If your closet is full of T-shirts and other cotton apparel, thank a farmer! Arizona cotton farms produce enough top-grade cotton annually to make one pair of jeans for every single American. And don’t forget to thank sheep farmers for your cozy wool sweaters and scarves. Hats off to a few of our top wool-producing states: Colorado, Texas and California.
5. They Make Sunday Brunch Taste Better
Bacon and sausage are breakfast mainstays, but they wouldn’t be so readily available without dedicated pork producers in states like Iowa, the No. 1 pork producing and exporting state in the U.S.
6. Farmers Strengthen our Economy
In 2018, $140 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported, numbers proving that farmers strengthen the global economy. Wheat is Montana’s No. 1 export, with nearly 75 percent sent to Asian markets. Domestically, agriculture employs more than 24 million Americans (17% of the U.S. workforce). Talk about the importance of farmers!
7. They’re Helping Protect Bees — and Other Wildlife
Did you know that 2018 was the 14th consecutive year that North Dakota ranked first in the nation for honey production? The state has nearly 500,000 bee colonies and produced 33 million pounds of honey in 2017. With so many bees sheltered for production purposes, beekeepers contribute to protecting non-human lives. In Wyoming, farmers and ranchers even provide a critical winter habitat for 75% of the state’s wildlife.
8. We Can Thank Farmers for Our Favorite Ballgame Snack
Crunching on sunflower seeds while watching baseball is an American pastime. And thanks to South Dakota, the country’s No. 2 producer of sunflowers, you’ll find bags and bags at your local ballpark.