National Ag Day: A Rite of Spring

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Each year around the first day of spring, the Agriculture Council of America throws a nationwide celebration to promote public awareness and appreciation of our nation’s farmers and foresters. This year’s National Ag Day on March 19, 2013, continues the tradition and is the highlight of National Agriculture Week, a weeklong focus on farming from March 17-23.

All of us can help spread the word. Check out these impressive farm facts then take the time to share the news with friends and neighbors:

American farmers are producing more and doing it more efficiently. With modern methods, one acre of land in the U.S. (about the size of a football field) can produce 11,000 heads of lettuce, 25,400 pounds of potatoes, 8,900 pounds of sweet corn, or 640 pounds of cotton lint.

In the 1960s, one farmer supplied food for 25.8 persons in the U.S. and abroad. Today, one farmer supplies food for 129 people – 97 in the U.S. and 32 abroad.

More than 90% of U.S. farms are family owned.

In the 1930s, a farmer could harvest an average of 100 bushels of corn by hand in a nine-hour day. Today’s combines can harvest 900 bushels of corn per hour or 100 bushels of corn in less than seven minutes.

Food isn’t all we get from farms; crayons, X-ray film and detergents are all made from farm products, too.

Tennessee alone has about 79,280 farms encompassing 11.4 million acres of land (about half of the land area in the state).

Tennesse’s agriculture production, excluding forest products, normally generates more than $2.5 billion annually in farm cash receipts.

Tennessee is a national leader in the development of no-till farming, a soil conservation practice where the ground is not plowed before planting.

Learn more about National Ag Day at www.agday.org.

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