National Ag Day is on March 18 this year and will see thousands of farmers, ranchers, and others involved in agriculture descend on the Nation’s Capital to celebrate all things agriculture. Each year, Ag Day has a different theme, and this year’s theme of “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations” is appropriate, given that each American farmer feeds more people than ever before (at 155 people per farmer), and the world is relying on them to provide enough food to sustain future generations, numbering 9.6 billion by 2050. This will require a 70 percent increase in food production, while having no additional land or natural resources to do so.
Not only will farmers need to be more efficient, but there will need to be more farmers. The average age of an American farmer is 58, highlighting an urgent need to attract more young farmers to the profession. Most farms around the world, both large and small, are family-owned, with many farms staying in the same family for multiple generations, spanning up to a century. On these farms, the young family members start learning the ropes early. While many of them do end up going into the “family business” of farming after college, others pursue different careers, leaving opportunities open for people who are interested in a career in agriculture. “National Ag Day does a great job shining a light on the need for more people to take an interest in agriculture,” says Dave Schmidt, President & CEO of the International Food Information Council, which coordinates the Alliance to Feed the Future. “The Alliance to Feed the Future supports the need to prioritize the future of our food system, including the use of technology and modern agricultural techniques, as well as the cultivation of the future generation of farmers, to ensure we have enough food to meet the needs of a growing global population.”
The Alliance is sponsoring Ag Day for the fourth consecutive year and will participate in the festivities on Capitol Hill on the 17th and 18th of March. Events include educational sessions, a Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon and the National Celebration of Agriculture Dinner, featuring commentaries by U.S. government officials involved in agriculture, as well as current and future farmers who will be recognized for their work in advancing their field and bring attention to the positive ways in which farmers are contributing to a safe and healthful food supply around the world.
About National Ag Day
National Ag Day marks a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
- Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
- Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
- Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
- Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
For more information about Ag Day, visit www.agday.org.