Even before your feet hit the floor in the morning, an industry we all take for granted becomes part of your day. The sheets on your bed, the eggs on your plate, the milk in your glass, and the clothes on your back are all made possible through agriculture. As you make your way down the hall to the shower room even the floor you walk on and the doors you open are part of an agricultural process. You turn on the water, and you get in. Did you know that your soap, shampoo, conditioner, and even the towel and washcloths you use are pieces of agriculture? By the time you style your hair, brush your teeth, apply your makeup, and start your car, you have already used hundreds of modern agricultural products.
As you drive down the freeway to your destination, you rush past crowded shopping centers, restaurants, bus stops, subway stations, small businesses, and crowded streets. Suddenly as you enter the dreaded traffic jam, you realize that the American population is growing at an excessive rate compared to when you first started your job a few years ago. In fact, the United States Census Bureau estimates that the world population will grow between 50 million and 80 million people every year for the next 40 years (www.census.gov). Scientists are already working to provide the ever growing population with enough food, clothing, and modern agricultural products, without having to take up more land. Through genetic engineering, scientists are able to chemically and physically enhance plant seeds to produce higher yields and prevent insect damage. This process is intended to increase crop production on existing farmland, and to provide more food for the large population of America.
I’ll bet you have even seen agricultural businesses close to your community. Some of these are agricultural cooperatives. If you use these cooperatives, you not only have a say in their products, prices, and leadership, but you also give back to your community. In return, agricultural cooperatives give back to the community too. If they receive business, it draws consumers to your town and can also benefit other businesses your community has. In Pleasant Hill, our local agricultural cooperative is FS. FS gives back to our community by hosting an annual Field Day with our FFA members. They inform us about new farming methods, growing processes, agricultural threats, and influences in Pleasant Hill. We utilize this information to help us not only with agricultural assignments but also with FFA events and fundraisers.
So the real question here is: “Where would you be without agriculture?” Without agriculture you would be inconvenienced, naked, malnourished, unprotected, and most importantly, hungry. The cotton that provided you with your sheets, your clothes, your towels, and your washcloths wouldn’t be processed into these everyday items. The eggs and milk you had for breakfast wouldn’t be available without the chickens that produced the eggs and the dairy cattle that produced the milk. The floorboards under your carpet and the doors made of wood in your home wouldn’t be accessible without the agricultural process of forestry. The consumables such as your soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair products, toothpaste, and makeup would also be diminished because they are byproducts of plants, another important agricultural method. And finally, the gas used to operate your car is made possible by distilling corn and soybeans into fuel.
As you can see, if agriculture wasn’t available, life would be greatly affected. Everyday tasks wouldn’t be possible. So the next time you wake up, eat breakfast, walk down the hallway in your house, shower, get ready for work, and head out into the every growing world, remember what it takes to give you the necessities you need to live life to its fullest.