Five Reasons Why Farmers Play a Crucial Role in Our Society
American farmers play a crucial role in our society today. They work hard to ensure we have enough food and supplies, often working around the clock from dawn until well beyond dusk.
Over two million farms dot America's rural landscape, and 98% are owned and operated by families. (America’s Diverse Family Farms, 2020 Edition). Various types and sizes of operations support feeding the world’s growing population, including small farms with about 25 acres or less—and family-run operations, producing over 70 percent of the world’s food.
We owe a lot to our farmers and ranchers. Without them, who would feed the nation? The Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina is proud to salute all those who work tirelessly to provide the food we need.
1. Farmers Provide Access to Food
Many Americans enjoy an abundant food supply thanks to farmers’ hard work. 166 people are fed annually by one U.S. farm. The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is currently produced.
2. Safe Food Supply Chain
Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable, and among the world’s safest, thanks in large part to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families. One acre of land can grow a variety of crops, including 50,000 pounds of strawberries or 2,784 pounds (46.4 bushels) of wheat.
3. Farmers Strengthen the International Economy
Globally, agricultural raw materials make up a large portion of trade. Supply-rich countries export those materials and trade for materials they lack. In 2021, North Carolina had a $92.7 billion dollar agricultural impact, numbers proving that farmers are a cornerstone to our global economy. In NC alone, more than 772,000 people (17% of total workforce) are employed in agricultural business.
4. One Word: Crayons
Farmers not only provide us with food, but they also provide other supplies. For example, soybeans are a key ingredient in 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. Crayons is only one example of many, where an agricultural crop is a key ingredient in a non-food product or supply.
5. They Make Holidays Taste Better
Many Americans celebrate holidays with food, spending a total of nearly $14 billion each year. Without agriculture, many holiday traditions would not be possible including travel, food, candy, presents, and much more. Christmas dinner is one of the most common and beloved traditions that families and friends celebrate together. Livestock farmers provide the meat in our Christmas meals. Whether you have ham for dinner or bacon for breakfast, pork producers play a large role in your holiday meals. An average of 318 million pounds of ham is consumed at Christmas time. Additionally, poultry farmers provide 22 million turkeys for Christmas dinner.
Agriculture offers billions of people the opportunity to have food on every dinner table. It can also create jobs and raise incomes for many countries across the world. In many ways, farmers and agriculture are the backbone of society.