By Zippy Duvall
President, American Farm Bureau Federation
Throughout the year, we hear about food recognitions such as National Chocolate Milk Day (Sept. 27) or National Pie Day (Jan. 23, but some celebrate again on National Pi Day, March 14). This week, we recognize the people who make those food recognition days possible: Farmers and ranchers. It’s National Agriculture Week, and yesterday was National Agriculture Day.
Farmers and ranchers are the ultimate unsung heroes. They quietly go about their business of producing the bounty consumers hardly give a thought to when they stroll down the fully stocked aisles of the grocery store—not to mention the wood that goes into our homes, the fiber in our clothes and even the fuel in our cars. Farmers and ranchers are so good at what they do, the average consumer has no idea how much goes into it. National Ag Week and Ag Day are about educating consumers about where their food, fiber and fuel come from, so maybe they’ll give it a thought the next time they walk down that grocery aisle.
It’s also a time for farmers and ranchers to share our passion for what we do. We love the land. We love knowing that we are doing important work—feeding Americans and making sure our country is secure because we don’t have to depend on unfriendly nations for our most basic need. We enjoy working to be more productive and sustainable. We love saving our rural communities by helping them stay economically vibrant. We are downright addicted to the hope that springs up in our chests at this time every year as many of us put new crops in the ground. We love carrying on farms and traditions that were handed down to us by our parents or going back even further. All of those things make farming and ranching so much more than “a job.” Go to a hog producer’s home and you might notice a pig motif in the décor. The same goes for corn, wheat, apples, strawberries, whatever. We identify with what we produce, and we are proud to know that we produce the best!
While those rewards are enough, it is good to take a moment to raise our glass of chocolate milk and toast the people who provide our everyday necessities. So happy Ag Day and Ag Week to all my fellow farmers and ranchers. I wish you a productive and profitable farm year!
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.