March 14, 2019 is National Ag Day, celebrating and recognizing the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.
The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
- Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
- Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
- Appreciate the role agriculture has in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
The contribution of agriculture is profound in our everyday lives. Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people, a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960’s. In addition, agriculture is one of the biggest sources of employment in rural areas. To put it simply, American agriculture is doing more and doing it better. As the world’s population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food produced in the United States.
Farmers and Ranchers in Montana
For those who farm and ranch in Montana, the weather can be a friend or foe. The past few years have been a challenge for ranchers who are trying to calve or lamb in negative temperatures and blowing snow. Getting feed and straw to animals, plowing snow, and keeping newborns alive and warm is a constant battle. One tends to hear a lot of salty language regarding the snow, the cold, this cow, or that ewe and on it goes.
Weather is a Big Factor
Farmers are in constant prayer mode for moisture and sunshine to come at all the appropriate times during the year, so they can seed, fertilize, hay, and harvest. No doubt about it, keeping up with the weather report whether it be via TV, radio, smart phone, carrier pigeon or any other means is crucial to those who make their living in agriculture.
Changing Market Prices
And of course commodity prices are up and down depending on the year and what catalyst(s) are driving the markets in any given month. The fear of market pricing is stressful in itself. Unlike folks with regular jobs who get a guaranteed paycheck, ranchers and farmers are dependent on what the markets will bare. Will you hit the top of the market this year or the bottom – and will the top of the market even cover costs?
It’s Hard Work
Undoubtedly this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It takes strong-willed and dedicated individuals to earn a living this way. Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our country. Take time to thank a farmer or rancher for their contribution to life in our country and the world. The difference they make in everyone’s life is immeasurable.
All of us at Stockman salute the men and women who choose to make their living in agriculture, and please know that we appreciate each and every one of you!