Why am I thankful for agriculture? For me it’s about food, freedom and friends.
I’m thankful to agriculture for allowing me to eat four times every day (yes, snack time is important to me). I don’t really need to give thought to where that food came from, how it got there or who produced it. I often do think about those things (for example, I like to go to whereismymilkfrom.com to enter the code on my milk or dairy foods to see where they were processed), but I do not need to worry about those things because I know we have a safe and abundant food supply with regulation every step of the way to ensure it remains that way. I’ve met hundreds of farmers and I know they care about producing high quality, nutritious and safe food while caring for the land and their animals.
Unfortunately, 1 in 6 children in the United States faces food insecurity. Last year, there were 42.2 million Americans living in food-insecure households. I am thankful for Feeding America, government programs and community organizations who work tirelessly to change that reality. I’m thankful for farmers who are working with local food banks to get food to those in need. But there are places around the world where it’s so much worse.
While food insecurity is a major concern and we still have a lot of work to do to make improvements, I know that our nation’s freedom relies on our ability to have our citizens’ basic needs of food and water met. A friend of mine met a leader in Africa who said there was an uprising in their country every time there was not enough food for the citizens. We are fortunate to have access to the world’s most affordable food supply so we are able to maintain a peaceful state and preserve our freedoms as Americans.
On a more personal level, I’m thankful that we have a robust agriculture industry so I have the freedom to choose my own career path. I don’t need to grow my own food so American agriculture allows me to be free to choose my occupation. I could have studied to become a doctor, electrician, law enforcement officer, computer scientist or farmer. I had the freedom to choose to study animal science and agricultural education and the freedom to choose a career path that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.
A high percentage of my friends work in the agriculture industry. I met my closest friends through FFA, 4-H, attending Cornell University or here in DC. My friends and family make life enjoyable and provide me with a support system.
This thanksgiving season, I will not take for granted my food, freedom or friends and the agriculture industry which makes it all possible.