Honoring the critical role of American farmers and ranchers.
Farming is a job of selfless dedication to a purpose that goes beyond personal need. The American farmer is the true embodiment of altruism, optimism, and resilience, showing up each day for the sake of people they’ve never met.
Without the steady resolve of our nation’s farmers and ranchers, the American people would be reliant on other countries to keep food on our tables. U.S. agriculture not only ensures the domestic food security of our nation but also leads as one of the largest agricultural producers for people around the world.
This year, National Farmer’s Day holds profound meaning as farmers and ranchers have faced and continue to overcome historic challenges—from food supply chain bottlenecks that led to the destruction of crops and livestock to ongoing uncertainty regarding the state of global trade for U.S. agriculture.
2020: A Year of Trials and Tribulations for American Farmers and Ranchers
The challenges of 2020 created defining moments for U.S. agriculture. The rapid emergence of COVID-19 compounded existing issues within the industry, causing farmer sentiment and expectations for the future to fluctuate as much as market prices throughout the year. Yet despite an unclear economic future, farmers and ranchers kept a steady resolve to keep the American people fed in spite of the high personal demand. Let’s take a look at some of the events that have defined this year.
1. Global Trade
- January 15th – Phase one of the U.S.-China trade deal is officially signed by President Trump and China’s Vice Premier Liu He which included the purchase of more than $36 billion in U.S. agricultural goods
- January 29th – President Trump officially signs USMCA into law to replace NAFTA
- July 1st – USMCA goes into effect
2. Michelob Ultra’s Pure Gold
- February 2nd – Michelob ULTRA launches “6 for 6-Pack” campaign and creates a buzz that raises awareness on organic farming practices during Super Bowl LIV
3. COVID-19 Pandemic
- February 26th – CDC confirms the possible community spread of COVID-19
- March 25th – CARES act is passed which includes $49 billion in funding for the agriculture and food sector
- April 28th – Bottlenecks created by meat plant closures leads President Trump to issue an executive order to keep meat processing plants open
- May 15th – USDA launches $3 billion Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- More than 20 million boxes are delivered to American families
- June 9th – USDA reports meatpacking plants are operating at more than 95 percent capacity compared to 2019 levels
- July 1st – Second round of Farmers to Families food box contracts begins
- More than 50 million boxes are delivered to American families
- July 24th – Third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program is announced
- September 29th – Farmers to Families Food Box Program surpasses 100 million boxes delivered to American families
4. Weather Disruptions
- August 10th – A derecho swept across Midwestern states impacting 37.7 million acres of farmland
- August 22nd – Acres burned by wildfires in California reaches one million
- August 27th – Hurricane Laura hits landfall and causes an estimated $1.6 billion in damage to Louisiana crops and forests
#AgAmericanProud: Agricultural Awareness is Growing in America
Agriculture has been a focal point in mainstream media this year from Superbowl ads supporting organic farming practices to marketing campaigns discussing the potential environmental impacts of cattle ranching. Of course, with increased mainstream media exposure comes the heightened risk of misinformation. While these examples carried with them discrepancies in factual knowledge regarding the industry, they also contributed to a renewed awareness regarding where our food comes from, how the agricultural industry is evolving, and the pivotal role it plays within American society.
Rather than simply discrediting these marketing campaigns as false information, advocates within the agricultural industry vocalized their concerns and embraced discussions that gave way to open and honest dialogues. These educational opportunities supplied the general population with real facts behind what it takes to sustain the world and deepened their appreciation of our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
This year in particular, there has been a growing number of people outside of the agricultural community that have started to pay more attention to their food source and have even started to seek ways to get involved. In fact, the number of farmers under the age of 34 rose more than 26 percent according to data captured by the 2012 and 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture.
Silver Linings within an Economic Storm
While the events of this pandemic have been devastating for many, in the true spirit of the American Farmer, AgAmerica acknowledges the glimmers of hope that have shined through this trying year.
“With the dawning of a new age, after pandemics have done their work, we may find ourselves at the watershed of singular considerations about how to handle the changes that revolutionize our lives, and trace the silver lining in a new reality.”
– Erik Pevernagie, Belgian writer and painter.
This National Farmers Day, join AgAmerica in celebrating the foundation of American civilization. Their enduring resilience to sustain our planet deserves our deepest appreciation and is what makes us #AgAmericanProud.