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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Farmers and Ranchers: Good For The People

The American Farmers and Ranchers of today produce an abundance of food, fiber, flowers, fish, forest products, forage and fuel. The American consumers are offered these products at prices that are among the lowest in the world. We do export some of these products, which helps feed people around the globe.

It is said that one American farmer produces enough food to feed more than 144 people. Most of the food we eat is produced right in the United States, so we are not paying other countries to send it to us.

Other countries are not as abundant in soil and water as the US, but we really need to protect out natural resources and not take them for granted. It is as simple as this: If natural resources are depleted at a faster rate than they can replenish themselves, they eventually disappear.

American farmers and ranchers understand that concept and use soil and water conservation practices. There are about 2 billion acres of land in the US. That breaks down to being about 70% privately owned land and most of that land, 1.4 billion acres, is managed by ranchers and/or farmers. More than 92 million acres of land, is privately developed and much of it is owned by homeowners.

We ALL benefit when private landowners care for natural resources because it will ensure that we will have cheap, plentiful food and clean water. So ALL people should help the farmers and ranchers care about these resources.

The farmers and ranchers have made a difference. With help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, they have reduced the annual soil loss from 5.1 billion tons in 1982 to 1.8 billion tons in 2001. Controlling erosion keeps the land productive and reduces the amount of soil, pesticides, fertilizers and other substances that pollute our water.

Farmers and ranchers have also been helping with the Nation’s energy supply by producing and utilizing renewable resources. They have been using wind and solar energy for years! By producing crops ( corn, wheat, soybeans sugarcane), which contribute to 2 types of biofuel – ethanol and biodiesel, we can find an alternative fuel products instead of pure gasoline.

Things Made With Products Provided by American Farmers and Ranchers
1) Corn provides; food, plastic, cooking oil, cattle feed, diapers, sweeteners, de-icer, packing peanuts, ethanol and cleansing products.
2) Soybeans provide: food, cooking oil, cattle feed, ink, paint stripper, crayons, lubricants, candies, engine oil, hand cleaner, nail polish remover, hair care products, adhesives and biodiesel fuel.
3) Rice provides: food, cattle feed, dog food, Japanese wine
4) Cotton provides: bandages, cooking oil, paint, paper and clothing
5) Pigs provide: bacon, ham, sausage, pork chops, hot dogs and leather
6) Cows provide: milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, steaks, hamburgers, beef jerky, leather, film coatings. Medicine and piano keys
7) Trees provide: lumber, turpentine, paper, solvents, oils, medicine, syrup, nuts, mulch, film, chewing gum, nail polish, rocket fuel, make up, tooth brushes and food additives

Fun Cow Facts:
· In one day, 1 cow produces 5.4 gallons of milk or 2 lbs of butter or 4.6 lbs of cheese
· A typical dairy cow weighs 1400 lbs and produces more than 46 lbs of milk per day
· In one day, 1 cow consumes 35 gallons of water, 20 lbs of grain and 35 lbs of hay & Silage
· And for the environment: each dairy cow produces 100 lbs of manure each day.

Agricultural products are very important in our lives and we need to conserve, sustain and improve our natural resources for the future.

You can visit Federal conservation programs at http://offices.usda.gov/. or http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/.

Thank you to all the farmers and ranchers.

Source: For the Good of the People / NCRCS
United States Conservation Service

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