National Ag Week is being celebrated March 15-21 all across the U.S., and Friday, March 20, has been designated National Ag Day. It is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. agriculture industry second to none!
Following are some interesting statistics about today’s agriculture industry:

  • The top five agriculture products in the U.S. are cattle and calves, dairy products, broilers, corn and soybeans.

The U.S. produces 46% of the world’s soybeans, 41% of the world’s corn, 20% of the world’s cotton and 13% of the world’s wheat.

  • It takes the average American approximately 37 days to earn enough disposable income to pay for all the food that is consumed at and away from home during the entire year.

By comparison, it takes consumers about 100 days of earned income to pay all federal, state and local taxes each year, and over 50 days of income to cover health insurance and medical costs.

  • The U.S. farmer produces enough food and fiber for more than 150 people.

This number was 19 people in 1940, 46 people in 1960 and 115 people in 1980.

  • About 20¢ of every consumer dollar spent on food actually goes to the farmer.

The other 80¢ is spent on processing, packaging, marketing, transportation, distribution and retail costs.

  • One acre of wheat will yield about 35 bu. and will produce about 1,960 loaves of bread, or about 56 loaves of bread/bu. of wheat.

If a farmer is paid $6/bu. for wheat from the farm, the wheat cost in a loaf of bread is only about 12¢/loaf (estimated retail value is about $2.99/loaf).

  • Following is the farmer’s share of some other common food products (estimated retail value):

Bacon: 44¢/lb. ($2.99/lb.); sirloin steak: 80¢/lb. ($5.99/lb.); eggs: 81¢/dozen ($2.69/dozen); breakfast cereal: 9¢/box ($4.49/box); potatoes: 69¢/10 lbs. ($3.99/10 lbs.).

  • The U.S. Agriculture Industry employs more than 22 million Americans to produce, process, sell and trade the nation’s food and fiber.

This represents approximately 16-17% of the total U.S. workforce.

  • The soil erosion rate on U.S. cropland has declined by over 40% since 1982.

Today, conservation tillage methods are used on over 100 million acres of the total of 281 million crop acres in the U.S.

  • Fresh beef sold at the retail meat counter in the U.S. has 27% less fat content than 20 years ago.

Today, the average pork tenderloin only has about 1 gram more fat than a skinless chicken breast, which is considered among the leanest of meat products.

  • One dairy cow produces enough each day for 7 gal. of fluid milk, 2.9 lbs. of

butter and 6 lbs. of cheese.
This daily production is accomplished by the dairy cow’s average daily consumption of 35 gal. of water, 35 lbs. of hay and silage and 20 lbs. of grain and concentrates.

  • Today’s modern combines, harvest over 900 bu. of corn/hour, or 100 bu. every seven minutes.

By comparison, in the 1930s – before modernized harvesting equipment – a farmer would harvest about 100 bu. of corn in a nine-hour day.

Please celebrate and enjoy National Ag Week, and thank a farmer for the abundant supply of safe and affordable food they provide for all of us !

Global Warming Speaker
“Global Warming: The Issue That Could Change Agriculture” is the theme for a special meeting being held on Tuesday, March 24, 5:30-8 p.m., in Lake Crystal, MN. The meeting will be in the upstairs of The Lakes restaurant in downtown Lake Crystal. The featured speaker will be Elwynn Taylor, nationally recognized climatologist from Iowa State University. The meeting will focus on current research and views on global warming, as well as how global warming might impact agriculture in the future. Taylor will also highlight current weather patterns, and will look ahead at weather trends for the 2009 growing season. Dr. Taylor is being sponsored by the Blue Earth County Corn and Soybean Growers associations and their checkoff dollars.

The Blue Earth Country Corn and Soybean Growers Associations will have their annual meetings at 5:00 PM., followed by pork sandwiches, other food, and refreshments at 5:30 PM, and the featured speaker at 6:30 PM. The event is open to the public and is free of charge, with no RSVP necessary. For more information, contact Kent Thiesse at MinnStar Bank (507-726-2137).

Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.