The Agvocate: why we all need agriculture

The column’s title, “The AGvocate,” merges “Ag,” representing agriculture, and “advocate” to convey the column’s purpose of being a strong advocate for the agricultural sector. It aims to inform, debunk myths, educate and inspire readers about the significance of agriculture and its impact on our daily lives. Photo courtesy of Melanie Heckethorn

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Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, and without it, we would all cease to exist.

In 2021, agriculture and related industries contributed around $1 trillion to the United States gross domestic product. GDP measures the total market value of all U.S. goods and services produced in a given year.

Food is not grown in grocery stores. Regardless of what Americans choose to put on their plate, it all comes from the same place, which is mostly American farms, where 2% of the population is trying to feed the other 98%.

According to Khan Academy, for a civilization to survive, it must have a stable supply of food. That is where agriculture comes in. The hard work that farmers and ranchers put in is what keeps this country afloat and American bellies full.

Agriculture is the practice of farming and ranching. Agricultural practices have been around for millions of years and have evolved into what they are today through years of trial and error.

Agriculture is the world’s primary source of food production. Farmers are not only responsible for providing groceries for their families but also for people from all over the world. They ensure that those who live hundreds of miles from a farm have access to nutritious and safe food.

This field also provides millions of jobs in America. From day laborers, artificial insemination technicians, ranch hands and mechanics, there is always work to be done to help provide food for the U.S. If one day all agriculturists decided to quit their jobs, the rest of the country would starve to death.

One U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. Not only do Americans need farmers and ranchers but the whole world does too. Without them, people who have never been on a farm would have to learn how to grow their own crops, raise their own animals and butcher their own meat.

Working on a farm comes with challenges. That’s why fewer people are choosing to take over their families’ farms and instead, opting to move to the cities. This is becoming a bigger issue as the years go by and the population increases. Regardless of how agriculturists feel, they still have their livestock and the world’s food supply to care for.

Agriculture is essential in meeting the needs of our nation and beyond. This back-breaking industry provides employment opportunities and supports various sectors, making it a vital component of society. Without the hard work and commitment of agriculturists, the world would face challenges in feeding its growing population.

If everyone was forced to fend for themselves, doctors wouldn’t be able to heal, teachers wouldn’t be able to teach, and every profession in between would not be able to be focused on or taught as in-depth as they are today. Everyone would be too busy trying to yield crops to provide for themselves just so they would be able to survive through winter.

Because of the work agriculturists choose to put in, the world can advance and become more efficient by having skilled professionals in diverse areas of work. Whether individuals choose a vegan diet or are avid meat eaters, everyone can learn and recognize that the one thing that allows them to pick their food preferences, go to the grocery store and enjoy meals with their family, is agriculture.

Always has been and always will be.