FARMERS: IMPORTANT OR NOT?

old irrigation photoEver since the dawn of time agriculture has been a staple in the revelation of the Earth. Although this being said many people do not understand the depth farmers and people of agriculture go to continue this revelation. The answer most people reciprocate with when asked “Are farmers important?” is “Yes, we would not be able to eat without the food they grow.” This is true, but food is just the tip of the iceberg as to why farmers are important.

A good place to start is with the most obvious, food. These individuals that resort to food as their answer, like mentioned before, are correct. Everything we as humans and animals consume has had some form of connection with a farmer. If you grow your own herbs and vegetables at home in the garden, then you are a type of farmer and are involved with agriculture. Just thinking about what someone eats will lead you directly back to mother Earth. If we just take a look further into a typical candy bar, it will better explain where our food starts. Chocolate for our candy bar comes from cocoa beans grown and harvested in South and Central America. Our next ingredients would be sugar and peanuts which can be grown and farmed in the Southern United States. So as anyone can see even things such as candy bars are related to agriculture and our farmers.

cottonNot only are farmers important to food production, but also fuel and fiber production. Not many people know that roughly 25% OF Illinois corn goes towards the production of ethanol. Not only is ethanol important to the planet and anyone who drives, but the shirts on our backs would not be able to clothe us without farmers in the fiber industry. Many people just think of cotton when they hear of fiber, but there are two other types called flax which is used to make linen, and agave which produces a fiber called sisal. Sisal is a type of twine fiber that is growing in popularity due to its “rustic” look and feel.

Another huge reason farmers are important are the creation of jobs in the world. It is estimated that agriculture is the world’s largest provider of jobs at nearly 40% of the population. Within this 40% are jobs such as agri-science, transportation, horticulture, soil science, forestry, and meat science to name a few. A reason that is somewhat related to jobs in agriculture, is that farmers whether they view themselves this way or not are the stewards of the land. Generation after generation of farm families have been tearing up the Earth and sowing the seeds of human growth, so there is hardly anyone that knows the Earth better than the farmer.

barnLast and definitely not least, is that farm families and rural individuals have a sense of debt to Earth and country. These certain individuals have learned to give back and put the hours in to pay for what they have been blessed with. Studies show that the largest share of the United States military recruits come from rural backgrounds. This goes to show how important farmers and people of agriculture are. Farmers, their families, and agriculture impact something in our lives every day. So yes farmers are important.

Garret EssGarret Ess
Illinois State University student

 

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