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Happy National Ag Day from a MIAP Student

Celebrating Agriculturalists

Agriculture—for some it’s not even a thought. During the hustle and bustle of this thing called life, people eat, drink and are merry without an idea about what agriculture means or entails. During their trip to the store on a Sunday to pick up items for their weekly meal plan, the deepest thought had about agriculture is only a quick choice between which fruits or vegetables to purchase.

As much as I desire for everyone to be as passionate about agriculture as I am, it simply won’t be. For they didn’t grow up with agriculture in their blood. They didn’t raise livestock or grow produce year after year.

And that’s okay…because there are a handful of dedicated, devoted people who live and breathe agriculture.

But today is National Ag Day. It’s day to celebrate agriculture and those men and women around the WORLD that work every day in this harsh yet beautiful industry. It’s a day to raise awareness and to possibly get some people to think a little more about who and what agriculture involves.

By definition an agriculturalist is “someone concerned with the science or art or business of cultivating the soil.” This means there are a lot of people that can be celebrated today: a cattle rancher, an organic farmer, a conventional farmer, agribusiness men and women who deal in trading our goods…the list goes on.

Typically, when agriculturalists talk about ag, it’s to other agriculturalists. That is good and all, but the purpose of National Ag Day is to highlight agriculture of the general public. For those that don’t typically think about agriculture at all. Shoot, most people don’t even realize that the National Ag Day program was originally created in 1973. That’s decades of attempts to shine the spotlight on agriculture.

On the chance that someone reading this isn’t involved in Ag, I want you to know why agriculture should be celebrated more than just one day. It’s not just because they provide food for the world (because that’s kind of a big deal), but because the majority of people that work in agriculture do it out of pure passion for their trade. They do it because they love their jobs despite all that goes against them! (And there is a LOT that goes against them.) I’d say that’s something to celebrate.

Domestic ag production spreads through many categories in the United States. This alone is fascinating because of how much farmers and ranchers can produce on the land available. It’s not always the same in other countries where only a handful of basic crops can be grown and the rest have to be traded for other goods being imported. In the US, we have a well-oiled machine that produces and distributes goods to all corners, so that others can go about their day without a worry. This behind-the-scenes machine keeps the wheels turning. Without dedicated people, the system would no doubt be slow, but quite possibly cease to exist.

That’s why we celebrate agriculturalists.

That’s also why we continue to train up new generations to work in the agriculture industry.

What’s even cooler is that now, jobs in agriculture span far beyond what they did in say the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Back then, when you worked in agriculture, you were a farmer or rancher because most people were working on their own farms. Now, the possibilities are endless!

There are still those hard-working farmers and ranchers that never take a day off, but there are also agriculture policy makers, ag economists, agronomists, soil fertility specialists, veterinarians, food scientists, grain brokers, Extension educators, marketing specialists, farm news reporters….I’m really getting out of breath just going through the whole list, but you get the idea.

There are worlds of opportunities in agriculture, and now more than ever, the literal world is open to agriculturalists.

With an increase in globalization, new opportunities are upon us allowing us to share our agriculture way of life with those in other countries. We can share stories, and we can learn from people who have also been farming and raising livestock for generations.

A whole new generation of agriculturalists can become educated on how to work alongside international agriculturalists to feed mankind.

If that isn’t something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

I encourage you to reach out to someone involved in agriculture and start a discussion. Maybe you both are agriculturalists and can share your knowledge. Maybe you never thought about those behind food production until now. If so, reach out and ask questions. Keep the spotlight on agriculture because it’s what makes the world go round.

Happy National Ag Day!

~Lacey Roberts

Happy National Ag Day from a MIAP Student