Ag Day is celebrated on March 24. National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 22-28.  It's a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.

Ag Day is about recognizing and celebrating the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

Understand how food and fiber products are produced.

Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training. By building awareness, the Agriculture Council of America is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture.

Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people, a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s.  When you consider that many farmers are part-time and 80 percent of our food supply originates from only 20 percent of our farms, the average full-time farmer feeds well over 400 people. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more and doing it better. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.

Where does your food come from? If you're like many Americans, the answer is the grocery store. And frankly, that disturbs me. The grocery store isn't where food comes from; it's just from where it's distributed. In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table. Every morsel of food we consume in this country, and around the world for that matter, is farm to table. From a steak to a candy bar, it all has its origin on a farm.

Just a few generations ago, most people were a part of and had friends or relatives involved with agriculture. Today, that's no longer the case. We need to recognize and realize that agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of life, food, fiber, clothing, and shelter. And it's about time Americans recognize that contribution.

American farmers are working harder than ever, and it shows. The need for food produced in the United States is dramatic. Agriculture is this nation's #1 export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy.

And it's not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industry, all the way to the grocery store, is a vital link in a chain that brings food to every citizen and millions of people abroad.

Frankly, it's easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we're unbelievably fortunate… but that also mean we have an obligation to recognize how it's made possible.

This coming Tuesday is National Ag Day, hosted by the Agriculture Council of America. Ag Day is a good time to reflect and be grateful for American agriculture.

Upcoming Events

March 25--VQA Calf Sale, Tri State Market, Abingdon, 7 p.m.

March 28--VA BCIA Bull Sale, Wytheville.

March 30--VQA Steer Take-Up, Tri State Livestock Market.

April 1--VQA Heifer Take-Up, Tri State Livestock Market.

April 2--Smyth Washington Cattleman Association Meeting, Washington County Fairgrounds, Abingdon.

April 7--AFCA Spring Bull Sale, Tri State Livestock Market.

April 16-19--Virginia Beef Expo, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg.

April 24--Watershed Field Day for 6th Graders, Chilhowie High School.

May 6--Bristol Junior Steer and Heifer Show, Washington County Fairgrounds.

July 19-24--National Association of County Agriculture Agents Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference, Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach.

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Dr. Andy Overbay is Smyth County’s agriculture and natural resources extension agent.

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