Posted on December 22, 2011 at 6:49 AM by Iowa Corn
This article was taken from Skyland Grain. It is a well-written thank you note to farmers and ranchers across the nation who wake up each day and produce food for our dinner tables. As we gather this holiday season, let’s say thank you to those who do chores before Santa comes, for those who might spend Christmas keeping cattle out of a winter snow, and for those who lay their heads on the pillow each night with the task ahead of producing safe and affordable food, feed, fuel, and fiber for our families.
Feeding the World Is No Small Task
by David Cron, CEO, Skyland Grain
A farmer’s job isn’t easy. It’s essential. As an American agriculture producer, you make up only about 1% of the US population and yet you have been tasked with the incredible job of feeding the remaining 99% of Americans, as well as many people across the globe.
Your task will only increase as the world population continues to grow. On that note, I’ve been collecting some interesting facts. In 1960, we had a world population of 3 billion; in 1999 our world population was 6 billion. This fall, world population reached 7 billion, and by 2050, experts estimate our global population will reach 9.2 billion. That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
The growing population and increased demand for food, fiber, and fuel provides those of us in agriculture with exciting new opportunities as we look to the future.
As the global population increases, so have many of their income levels- which means many can now afford to eat protein, which requires more grain and animals.
Not only is the demand for food increasing, but your available land is decreasing due to urban sprawl. Thanks to your stewardship of the land, technological advancements, and increased efficiencies, you produce twice as much food today than your parents did while using less land, energy, water, and creating less emissions.
In 1931, the average farmer raised 24 bushels of corn per acre- today the average farmer grows 154 bushels of corn per acre. Think about it- in the last 80 years, we’ve increased corn production by about 130 bushels. Additionally, our environmental footprint is smaller. We produce 70% more corn per pound of fertilizer today than we did in the 1970s, and use 10% less fertilizer than we used in the 1980s.
The USDA says one acre of corn removes about 8 tons of carbon dioxide during its growing season. At the current averages, that means during a growing season, an acre of corn provides enough oxygen for 131 people to enjoy for one year.
As you’ve amped up food production, food quality hasn’t decreased. In fact, you grow the safest, most affordable food in the world. Americans spend the least amount of our disposable income on food- on average we spend 9.9%.
Compare 9.9% with countries across the globe: Indonesia 49%, India 39%, Russia 36%, China 28%, Mexico 21%, Japan 13%, France 13.6%, and Germany 10.9%.
As fewer and fewer people are involved in agriculture, the non-ag population is less connected to the farm. This disconnect can create an atmosphere that isn’t always farmer-friendly. Many have lost their appreciation for the job you do- many have forgotten that their food doesn’t come from the grocery store.
I want to thank you for what you do. As I said earlier, your job isn’t easy. Thank you for your stewardship of the land, your dedication to producing a quality product, and your contribution to the rural communities you call home. What you do each day is essential.