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Agriculture: reasons to celebrate
[MARCH 16, 2005]
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Below
are some interesting facts about agriculture today. These points
just scratch the surface of the advancements being made in
agriculture on a daily basis. All Americans are asked to enjoy and
admire the wonders of American agriculture as National Agriculture
Day is celebrated on March 20.
[Click here for
pictures from Logan County Ag Education Day.]
- Today's average farm is 417
acres, compared with 147 acres in 1900.
- Today's farmer feeds about 129
people in the United States and abroad. In 1960 that number was
- 42 percent of U.S. total land
area is farmland.
- U.S. farmers account for 42.7
percent of the world's soybean production and 34.4 percent of the
world's corn production.
- Almost 90 percent of U.S. farms
are operated by individuals or family corporations.
- More than 15 percent of the U.S.
population is employed in farm or farm-related jobs.
- U.S. consumers spend roughly 9
percent of their income on food, compared with 11 percent in the
United Kingdom, 17 percent in Japan, 27 percent in South Africa
and 53 percent in India.
- Farmers and ranchers provide food
and habitat for 75 percent of the nation's wildlife.
- U.S. farmers and ranchers produce
meat that is lower in fat and cholesterol. The result is beef cuts
that have 27 percent less fat than in 1985.
- Biotechnology has resulted in
better-tasting fruits and vegetables that stay fresh longer and
are naturally resistant to insects.
- Plant breeding has resulted in
crops better able to handle the environmental effects of drought,
disease and insect infestations, resulting in higher yields at
harvest and lower costs to the consumer.
[to top of second column in this article]
Technology and equipment
- Today's combines can harvest 900
bushels of corn per hour. In the 1930s a farmer could harvest, by
hand, about 100 bushels of corn in a nine-hour day.
- Precision farming using satellite
maps and computer models enables farmers to use lower production
inputs to produce a higher-quality, higher-yielding crop.
- Technology products like John
Deere's GreenStar AutoTrac satellite guidance system improve
farming efficiency, reduce operator fatigue and help keep the cost
of food down for U.S. consumers.
- Farmers use computers and
satellites daily to improve the efficiency of their production
operations and to track production processes on general and
- Ethanol accounts for the largest
industrial use of any commodity crop.
- Resins from corn and soybeans are
used in production of John Deere equipment panels, for example.
- Some crops are being bred
specifically for use in pharmaceutical production.
- Soybeans are used in the five
major markets currently dependent on petroleum products: plastics,
coatings and ink, adhesives, lubricants and solvents.
- Corn also is used in place of
certain petroleum-based products in industrial applications.
Agriculture Council of America]