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“Small family farmers are the only things that can save us because they take care of the land. Future Farmers of America are going to be our heroes…” -Willie Nelson
When’s the last time you really thought about where your food comes from? If you are a regular grocery shopper, it can be easy to forget about the farmers behind the produce. After all, you’re likely busy scouring prices trying to get in and get out as quickly as possible. The focus is a little more front and center when you and your significant other are strolling through a farmers’ market on a sunny, Saturday morning.
Farmers are the backbone of America. They rise before the sun, willingly participate in back-breaking labor and battle every unpredictable obstacle that could be tossed a person’s way. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without dedicated farmers.
Saturday, October 12, is National Farmers Day; an unofficial holiday created for some of the hardest working individuals. Let’s get a head start by highlighting agriculture in our own state, courtesy of the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection:
- Although Wisconsin is commonly known as the Dairy State, we produce more than just milk and cheese. Our state ranks first nationally for snap beans (for production,) cranberries, ginseng, mink pelts, dry whey for humans, milk goats and corn (for silage.)
- There are nearly 65,000 farms located on 14.3 million acres in the state.
- Approximately 62 percent of the nation’s cranberry crop comes from Wisconsin.
- The dairy industry annually contributes over $45.6 billion to Wisconsin’s economy on its own.
- Nearly 1200 licensed cheesemakers produce over 600 types, styles and varieties of cheese.
- Wisconsin is listed as #12 among all states in the nation for the value of agricultural exports.
It should come as no surprise to learn that 2019 has been a particularly difficult year for farmers across America. Between excessive flooding, international tariffs and low prices, many family farms are left making extremely difficult choices. Some have decided not to plant any crops, while others have had to let go of businesses that have been part of their family for generations. Small family farms need our support more than ever before.
As you begin to wrap up your week, keep these farmers in your thoughts. If you see a farmer out and about while running your errands this weekend, be sure to say, “thanks!”
On behalf of the Lions Pride Staff and Board, we’d like to do a special shout-out to our Wisconsin Family Farmers. We appreciate your hard work and dedication to the agricultural industry. We don’t know where we’d be without your passion.
Happy National Farmers Day!