Columns by John Fulton | Calendar | Logan County Extension Unit

Ag News Elsewhere (fresh daily from the Web)

Ask any fourth-grader          Send a link to a friend

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.]

General statistics

  • 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 25.8.
  • 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.

Production improvements

  • 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 advancements

  • 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 special crops.

New uses

  • 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.

Web resources

[From the Agriculture Council of America]

Previous articles

Ag scholarships


Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor