If you have food on your table and clothing on your back, you can thank a farmer. The farming community and agricultural businesses provide the foundation of everyday life. Where would we be without our farmers? To honor National Farmers Day, let’s remind ourselves of their contributions:
Ameris Bank is proud to serve markets across our footprint that make a tremendous impact with agricultural contributions to the entire U.S. In 2017, Florida had 47,000 commercial farms and ranches, using a total of 9.45 million acres. Did you know that Georgia leads the country in the production of peanuts and pecans? South Carolina has around 25,000 farms and is known for its turkeys, greenhouse nurseries, cotton, corn, cattle, soybeans, peanuts, eggs and wheat. Alabama is an agricultural powerhouse, ranking second in the country in broilers, catfish and quail; third for forestland, peanuts and sod; and sixth for pecans.
Our Daily Bread
Farms in our backyard and across the country play an important role in what we eat. Here are some fun facts from the Farm Bureau:
- A single steer can produce about 720 quarter-pound hamburgers.
- An acre of Kansas wheat fields makes enough bread to feed 9,000 people for one day.
- More than half of Idaho’s potato crop is turned into French fries and tater tots.
Farmers don’t only supply the food we eat. Take a look at your craft supplies. Did you know that one acre of soybeans (with many coming from Georgia and South Carolina) can produce more than 82,000 crayons?
Those soft weekend cotton T-shirts in your drawer and the breezy cotton sundresses and comfy cotton pants hanging in your closet all made it to your home thanks to a farmer. In fact, Arizona cotton farms yield enough cotton each year to make one pair of jeans for each American.
U.S. agricultural businesses employ more than 24 million Americans, about 17% of the U.S. workforce. The majority of farms in America are family owned and operated and about 30% of those farms are owned by women. When we buy locally grown items, we support their families and they support ours.
Farmers help create natural habitats. In North Dakota, a half-million protected bee colonies produced 33 million pounds of honey in 2017. Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers provide an important winter wildlife habitat for about three-quarters of the state’s wildlife.
In developing nations, farming creates opportunities to help people out of poverty. More than 60% of the world’s working poor have jobs in the agricultural industry, not only in farming, but also in related jobs such as farm equipment manufacturing, food processing plants and transportation.
Eco-friendly farming techniques help offset climate challenges and protect natural resources. Sustainable farming methods conserve water with drought-tolerant crops and work toward better livestock health. Organic farmers improve soil quality by rotating crops and avoiding pesticides, which helps maintain cleaner groundwater and creates natural habitats.
Farmers are a critical part of society, all while adapting to changes in climate, soil conditions, growing seasons and catastrophic events such as wildfires, drought and flood. The next time you make a trip to the supermarket and load your basket with fresh produce, meat, bread and milk, think about where it all originated. Farmers are the real backbone of America.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Ameris Bank does not endorse nor is affiliated with the companies listed in this article.