Celebrating Generations Nourishing Generations

This past month, we celebrated National Agriculture Day on March 19 alongside farmers, ranchers, educators, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America who joined together to recognize the contributions of agriculture. Some Ag Day events hosted inspirational speakers, including USDA Secretary Vilsack, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Lucas (OK), along with many other enthusiastic attendees.

During closing remarks at the” Mix and Mingle” luncheon, Orion Samuelson, a legendary farm broadcaster and long supporter of agriculture, reminded the audience of a prophetic proverb that was featured in an Op-Ed written by the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam H. Putnam. “When there is food, there are many problems; when there is no food, there is only one problem."  This proverb demonstrates more truth about the world as it is now than it ever has, and it tied together this year’s theme, “Generations Nourishing Generations.”

We are in a precarious place in American and world history; we currently have 7 billion people on this planet, and it has been projected that there will be a little over 2 billon people added by 2050, reaching record highs in the world’s population growth. The increase in population presents many challenges for American farmers, who already feed an average of 155 people each, as well as farmers across the world. So, this year’s theme is not only extremely appropriate, it also reminds us that as a nation we need to encourage our youth to join the ranks of men and women who work every day to put food on our plates. However, as less than 20% of the US population still resides in rural America, it is much harder for our youth to access information and first-hand experience with agriculture.

As there is an overwhelming majority of our youth who have little to no knowledge about where their food comes from, which is a missing link in many of today's formal education efforts, it is important that we do not forget this year’s theme “generations nourishing generations.” We must continue to encourage the American youth to become involved in the vast opportunities that feeding 9 billion people presents for us.  As part of the educational outreach efforts provided by the Alliance to Feed the Future, “Lunchbox Lessons: The Journey from Farm to Fork,” educational curricula for K-8th grade students, was created through a grant from Farm Credit, America’s largest agricultural lending cooperative. The comprehensive supplemental curricula guide students through the exciting journey of food from the farm to their forks. Curricula, like this, are necessary to show children the value of American agriculture and all that it is able to provide.

Through programs provided by the Alliance to Feed the Future, the National FFA, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and others, we can show new generations the many opportunities agriculture can offer, and hope that they will join the dedicated people working every day to provide food for the 9 billion people coming soon who will need reliable access to a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply.

The Alliance to Feed the Future is a group of scientific societies, universities, industry and commodity groups, and nonprofit education and communication organizations committed to raising awareness and improving understanding of the benefits and necessity of modern food production and technology in order to meet global demand. Its 109 members have science-based resources on modern agriculture, food production, and technology that are all available through the Alliance website.