Although today is National Ag Day, few citizens celebrate it or even know about it. Although Americans enjoy the safest, most affordable and abundant food in the world, Hallmark has printed no “Happy Ag Day” greeting cards. Even though one of every 12 jobs in the U.S. is supported by agriculture, Google has created no special logo to commemorate the day. Although agricultural productivity and exports are higher than ever before, despite the sluggish economy, Ag Day probably won’t make many newscasts or political speeches. Alas, even though most Americans wear cotton or wool as well as utilize lumber and biofuels, Walmart isn’t selling Ag Day M&M’s.
Were he here today, Benjamin Franklin would surely have made mention of National Ag Day. The witty statesman said of agriculture:
"There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry."
George Washington was of like mind:
"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."
So, today, take a few moments to celebrate the folks who are responsible for the fruit, veggies, grains, meats, and dairy products that we eat; the wood in our homes, furniture, and paper (imagine life without Charmin and Kleenex!); the fiber in our clothes and bedding; and the biofuels that make our country less dependent on foreign oil. And, if you happen to pass by a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep or chickens—and no one’s looking—go ahead and tip your hat!
For a preview of a great ag documentary, go to www.stephaniealton.com and click on the "MONTANA STOCKMAN: Tougher than Hammered Owl Manure" link.