Ag Day 2015

Happy National Ag Day!  I am excited this year’s theme is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations” because I get to work with our future generation almost every day.  I am excited for their future and hope many of them choose a path in agriculture.  I know my kindergarten, first, and second grade students are a long way from deciding what to do with their future, but it is my job to help lead them there.  It just so happens I am a little biased about the  opportunities ag has to offer them and will promote them as much as I can while they are in my classroom.

Below is a piece my sister, Katie and I wrote together.  To sum it up, we ask that you join with us today in celebrating the past, present, and most importantly future of agriculture.

Ag Day 2015: Celebrate Agriculture & Our Next Generation of Farmers

As we praise the warm weather and new beginnings that spring brings, we want to remind you that our farmers are starting to gather in the fields to produce this year’s crop and the food that comes to your table each and every day.

This year’s National Agriculture Day is March 18th and the theme is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations”. This is a day to celebrate and support agriculture and the people that work in the agriculture industry even though we hope many of you celebrate more than one day of the year. These “people” are the farmers and ranchers that grow crops, raise, and care for livestock and tend to the land.

When we think of farmers, many times we think of overalls and a pitchfork. But in today’s agriculture world, more and more farmers are communicating via their smart phone from their tractors and using technologies that make our farms more efficient. The old pitchforks have turned into iPads. Even with the adoption of new technologies, we still face issues within agriculture. Many people outside the agriculture family don’t realize the issues we are facing today with aging farmers. Today, the average American farmer or rancher is 55 years old or older. Young people are not returning to the farm to work and take over the age-old tradition of farming. Instead they are looking elsewhere for more “attractive” jobs that have a typical 9-5 hour schedule, vacation days and less physically demanding work.

This is everyone’s problem because we need the next generation of farmers and ranchers to raise our crops and livestock to sustain our lifestyles as consumers. With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, who will grow and raise our food? We need a next generation of farmers, ranchers and agriculturists to take on that task. Whether they come back to the farm or ranch to work, work for companies that create the technologies used on the farms, or help develop policies farmers and ranchers need to sustain their family farms, we need someone to take on the task. Also, we need people to teach the next generation about agriculture and where their food comes from. Without a doubt, there are many jobs that need to be filled in the agriculture industry.

Living in Indiana we are lucky to have various options for the next generation to be a part of this agriculture family. We have a strong agriculture sector ranging from a leading land grant university that provides educational and extension services to every citizen and a growing technology and innovation sector that includes companies like Dow AgroSciences and Elanco. We also have seed companies that provide more innovative agronomic tools for our farms and a livestock sector that provides food to people around the world. Our Indiana agriculture sector generates more than $25.4 billion towards Indiana’s gross domestic product and employees more than 475,000 Hoosiers, which attributes to roughly 20% of our workforce.

So how you can you help find the next generation of farmers, ranchers and members of the agriculture family? Encourage a young person to learn more about jobs in agriculture. Attend a forum or meeting that discusses ag issues and policies that affect our farming and our food. Visit local events, county and state fairs and farms to show your support of famers and ranchers. Educate yourself on local, state, national and world food and ag issues. Support your local FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, or young farmer groups. Let them know that they are needed and that you really need them too.

Agriculture is a part of our heritage and we hope it continues to be a strong part of our future in Indiana and in our country. As farm girls who wore overalls, loved showing animals and eating sweet corn from our own farm, we hope you take a moment to celebrate National Ag Day today and every day with us. Do your part in sustaining agriculture’s future generations which include you too.

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You’re Gonna Want to See This

FARMLAND, a documentary about six farmers and ranchers in their 20s being stewards of the land. Award winning director, James Moll with the help of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has given this diverse group of farmers and ranchers a chance to share their story with you.

I grew up on a grain farm in central Indiana. I know and understand where my food comes from. I am confident in and trust the hands that grow and produce my food. To sum it up, I know what’s up in the agriculture industry. But for those who do not know or have questions about where your food comes from or more specifically who grows and produces that food, this movie is a must see for you.

Or if you are like me and know first hand what the life of a farmer or rancher is like, this movie is still for you. I felt like a cheerleader on the sidelines watching my teammates on the big screen. I couldn’t help but love that they were given this opportunity to share their stories.

During the month of October, Farmland can be watched for FREE on Hulu. Click here to watch.

So, to sum it up educate yourself or be a supporter for those hands that feed us. Watch it!

National Agriculture Day 2014

By Katie Thomas Glick & Sarah Thomas

When we sit down for a meal, it has become common practice to give thanks for those that have prepared the meal in front of us. However, do we go beyond those that have cooked the food to those that planted, nurtured and harvested the food? Do we thank our farmers enough for growing the corn, soybeans, wheat, vegetables and fruits along with caring for our animals?

As sisters that grew up on a farm, we have always appreciated where we came from and the soil under our feet. However, after losing our father, Tim Thomas, in a farming accident in 2009, we decided to dedicate our lives to telling the story of agriculture. Today is National Agriculture Day and we invite you to learn something new about agriculture today and to thank a farmer. If you don’t know a farmer, pray for them as they prepare for planting in the coming months or send a good thought their way when there is too much rain or not enough. You can also show your appreciation by remaining patient as your drive behind a tractor traveling from field to field.

Farmers never have a day off–from planting the crops to caring for the land, worrying about the weather, staying up late in the cold to watch a cow have her baby calf to preparing for a days work before the sun rises and harvesting after the sunset. And the worry of the weather, it’s constantly on their minds even in the winter on how much snow will fall and replenish the soil in the their fields. We heard something true recently, “mother nature never takes a day off” and neither do farmers.

Today is National Agriculture Appreciation Day but really, to us and many others, every day is agriculture appreciation day. Every day the farmer gets up to tend to his crops or livestock to make sure they are safe and prospering for us. We are consumers, almost everything we use in our day starts with the farmer. We want to help consumers understand the work of the farmer.

Below are a few fun facts and websites we wanted to share with you as you learn more about where your food comes from and the families that grow the crops and/or raise the animals. If you have questions, ask a farmer or do your part as a consumer and research the facts before assuming what you hear is true. We have the luxury of having an abundant, safe and affordable food supply in the United States and we need to remember to thank our American farmers for their hard work and dedication.

Indiana Agriculture Rankings (According to USDA NASS)
> Ranks 2nd in tomatoes for processing (Red Gold is located in Indiana)
> Ranks 2nd in spearmint
> Ranks 4th in soybeans
> Ranks 4th in total eggs produced
> Ranks 5th for number of pigs
> Ranks 5th in corn for grain

Fun Farm Facts:
> According to the 2007 USDA Agriculture Census, 95% of farms are family owned and operated.
> One acre of soybeans can produce 82,000 crayons.
> In the U.S., we spend less than 10% of our income on food versus 18-25% around the world, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
> There are 29 different cuts of beef that meet government guidelines.
> A cow will produce an average of nearly 7 gallons of milk each day. That’s more than 2,500 gallons each year.
> For every dollar spent on food in America, the farmer sees less than 12 cents.

National Ag Day, http://www.agday.org
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, http://www.fooddialogues.com/
Common Ground, http://www.findourcommonground.com
Sarah Sums It Up, http://www.sarahsumsitup.com

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Don’t Be Afraid to Talk

Last night I read an article about a woman who frequently flies and loves to meet new people. On one of her flights she was seated next to a 70 year old farmer. She expressed how much she enjoyed listening to his story and how she better understands where her food comes from because of their conversation.

If you know me personally or have read some of my other posts on Sarah Sums It Up, you know that I LOVE farmers. They are my favorite people to talk to. I have a family full of farmers and many of my closest friends are farmers. But I must confess that at times I am scared to talk to them. I am scared because it makes me sad that I don’t get to have conversations with my favorite farmer, my dad, anymore. It’s silly really. I will go awhile without talking to some of my family and farmer friends and when I finally do stop to catch up with them, I leave with a smile on my face. I walk away from our conversations thinking, why did I wait so long to stop and say hi and to see how they are doing? I walk away happy.

For those of you who have questions about where your food comes from or you just want to find our more about what farmers do, talk to a farmer. Today farmers are understanding that it’s important to have conversations with consumers. They know that the work they are doing is good and they are learning how to share that with the consumer. Social media has opened so many avenues for farmers and ranchers to share their stories with anyone who wants to listen. Here is a list of some of my favorite farmers and ranchers out there sharing their story:

The Peterson Brothers
Agriculture Proud
The Farmer’s Life
The Beef Jar

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National Agriculture Day is March 25th! Mark your calendars for this great opportunity to start a conversation with a farmer or rancher.

To sum it up, if you get the chance to talk to a farmer, do it.

Show Some Appreciation

It’s National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week. Thanks to Illinois Corn’s blog, I was able to learn more about this. What a great way to show and tell people that you appreciation them. There is definitely a particular group of individuals that I would like to thank and show appreciation to…

Dear Farmers and Ranchers,

Thank you kindly for planting, raising, caring, harvesting and working for the food and pretty much everything I use in my day. Without you life would be pretty bland and cold. I hope you are keeping a positive outlook on your future in the agriculture industry because I and everyone else needs you. I promise to thank God for you and your work every day. I will also continue to do my part in sharing the story of agriculture.

To sum it up, I appreciate you and what you do every single day matters.

Sincerely,

Always a Farmer’s Daughter

The month of March is Agriculture Appreciation Month! Be sure to continue showing those Farmers and Ranchers that you appreciation what they do.

I also took this week as an opportunity to send my favorite kind of mail to friends and family. I appreciate you all too!

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Happy National Beef Month!

May is National Beef Month! It is also the start of grilling season. Beef is a great addition to a healthy diet. My family raises beef cattle and I know that they have been working hard this spring welcoming new life onto our farm. Growing up on a farm and being an active 4-H member, I learned that animals like beef cattle have a purpose. Their purpose is to provide a source of food. I understand that they are not a family pet, but I also understand that they should always be treated with care. I have faith in my family and other family owned and operated farming and ranching operations, that they take great care and pride in their livestock. Their purpose is providing you and me with a heart healthy protein that we can choose to have in our diet.

I choose to eat beef. So, to sum it up, thank you farmers and ranchers for bringing one of my favorite foods to my plate.

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Happy Earth Day 2013!

Today is Earth Day and I will be doing my part by supporting the hands that take care of the land and put food on my table. Farmers are the best stewards of the land. They must take care of the land because it is part of their livelihood. They are responsible for our most precious resource.

Today one farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed 26 people. Our population is expected to grow to 9.1 billion by the year 2050. Farmers will have to use fewer resources, including fewer land to continue providing food, fuel and fiber for everyone. They’ll do it by continuing to develop new technologies and techniques to help them get the job done. And they will because it is their job.

To sum it up, every single day is Earth Day to a farmer.

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Happy National Agriculture Day!

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Today I would like for you to join with me in thanking and celebrating all those who work in the agriculture industry. I have been posting a lot about ag here on Sarah Sums It Up because March is Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana. But today the ag world gets attention on a national stage. I am very passionate about agriculture and want to help those in the industry share their story. Today I ask you to talk to a farmer face to face or through social media outlets. Farmers love what they do and I am sure they would love to tell you about all their hard work.

Here are some of my blog posts about agriculture and farmers:

I love Farmers

The Farmer’s Verse

The Definition of a Hoosier

So God Made a Farmer

We Come and We Go

My sister, Katie and I created this newsletter to share today. Please click on the link below to view!

A message from Katie and Sarah

To see how others are celebrating and giving thanks today search and follow the Ag Day, Farms Matter or Agriculture Proud hashtags on social media sites #AgDay, #farmsmatter and #AgProud.

Please share and create your own ways of thanking farmers for all their hard work they do for you! But remember every day is Agriculture Day!! I love farmers