Texas Food Connection Week

StrawberriesAg Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent—Ag/NR
Smith County

 

Texas Food Connection Week

Agriculture is life.  Agriculture touches all our lives daily.  From the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the structures we use to provide shelter, agriculture is all around us.  Texas farmers and ranchers work daily to produce a source of good, wholesome food for all of us locally, nationally, and internationally.

Texas is one of the nation’s top states in total Agriculture production.  Agriculture production in Texas exceeds $20 billion.  Imagine going to the local grocery store and all the shelves are empty.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of our farmers and ranchers, we do not have to worry about this problem.

Texas Farm Bureau recognizes the week of February 16-22, 2014 as Texas Food Connection Week.  The goal of the Texas Food Connection Week is to find common bonds between farmers and ranchers and the consumers who depend on their products.

While in most cases it is not always practical for everyone to meet face to face with a corn grower, fruit and vegetable grower, or someone who raises cattle.  For that matter, farmers and ranchers are consumers themselves and rely on the food and fiber they produce each day for their own families.

Ask a farmer or rancher to see his or her hands.  In many cases, you will see lines and scars from the labor of love—the love of agriculture.  While these farmers and ranchers will not boast about what they do, many will tell you about their farm, their livestock, their family and their rich heritage of producing agriculture commodities passed down from generation to generation.

Did you know that in 1960 one farmer produced enough food to feed 26 people?  Today, one farmer produces enough food to feed over 151 people.  Many farmers and ranchers work from sunrise to sunset battling drought, floods, insects, and in some cases wildlife that may cause damage to their crops or livestock.

Technology is not a negative in food production.  By using technology and research, our farmers and ranchers can produce a safe food supply today that is also environmentally friendly using less water, less fuel, fewer pesticides, and higher yields.  Technology does not take away from sustainability but enhances it.

Farming and ranching are professions in which you do not get days off for bad weather and they usually do not have set hours.  Farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land.  They take care of their land, livestock, and crops.  Farmers and ranchers are a resilient bunch working with whatever tools or conditions to produce our food.

The Texas Food Connection Week is not only about the farmer or rancher, but about the consumer.  Without the consumer purchasing fruit, vegetable, meats and other agriculture commodities, where would the farmer or rancher market their goods?    There is a symbiotic relationship between farmers, ranchers and the consumers that purchase their goods.  Consumers purchase these goods because they are nutritional, taste good, and they have preferences when going shopping.

During the week of February 16-22, 2014, take time to reflect on where your food comes from.  If possible, think about the long hours the farmer and rancher puts in to insure we have a safe, wholesome food supply.  Farmers and ranchers can also take the time to reflect on the numerous families that are feasting on their goods produced on the farm.

Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

 

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