Celebrate National Nutrition & Ag Month

By Kimmi Devaney

It’s hard to believe it’s already March…2012 is flying by! This month is great for two reasons in particular: it’s Nutrition Month AND it’s Agriculture Month! While this gives us an ‘official’ reason to celebrate, those involved in both the nutrition and agricultural fields celebrate every day. It’s very fitting that we celebrate them together since farmers work hard every day to produce high-quality, nutritious products—regardless of whether they are dairy farmers, corn farmers or any other kind of farmer. Those in nutrition—such as dietitians—help the public make smart choices about what they eat. Both groups are essential in today’s society.

I go to quite a few dairy conferences around the nation, and one thing I keep hearing is how we are going to have to nearly double food production by 2050 in order to feed the anticipated 9 billion people in the world. Wow! Double food production! Since there is not much land that isn’t already in use (or available land able to support crops and/or livestock), farmers must continue to increase efficiencies on their farms. I’ve heard a lot of consumers talk about the use of modern technology on farms like it’s a bad thing, but just as you may use computers, GPS and other technologies to improve efficiencies in your business, farmers use the same on their farms.

So why is Ag Month important? Today, less than two percent of the American population is involved in agriculture, and the average American is three to four generations removed from the farm. So what does this mean? This means that each year fewer and fewer people have a good understanding of how their food is produced. But they are curious.

To help the general public better understand modern agriculture, many farmers open up their farms for tours. If you are interested in visiting a farm, I recommend contacting your local dairy council, corn marketing board, etc. You can usually find these organizations by entering “Indiana dairy council”, “Indiana pork”, etc. into a search engine.

This month, I challenge each of you to take a few minutes and learn about modern agriculture and how farmers produce nutritious food for your family to enjoy. This could be in the form of reaching out to a farm blogger or a farmer on social media and asking them questions about their farm, visiting a farm, etc.

Don’t forget to thank a farmer (or a lot of farmers!) for their contributions to ensuring we continue to have a safe and abundant food supply.

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