National Ag Day is a day to celebrate the hardworking men and women who grow the food and fiber that helps fuel the American economy and is vital to our food security. We are blessed every day by the diversity of America’s farms and are grateful for all of our farmers and ranchers.
American farmers and ranchers are also continuously working to protect and preserve the environment through voluntary conservation commitments. Smart farm policies incentivize this work and preserve a sustainable and abundant food and fiber supply.
Take a moment to #ThankAFarmer for keeping us fed, fueled, and clothed.
Meet some of America’s family farmers:
Chad and Kyle Zenon are fourth- and fifth-generation sugarcane farmers in Louisiana. Kyle has been eagerly waiting for the chance to farm with his dad since he could sit up in the tractor. But it’s not always an easy path to the family farm. “There’s a lot of risk involved, and you never know what’s coming next at you, but I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Kyle said. Both Chad and Kyle recently visited lawmakers in Washington, DC, to talk about the importance of a strong sugar policy to the survival of their family farm.
Nicole Berg, Past President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, is a fourth-generation farmer who works alongside her dad and two brothers at their family farm in Washington State. Farm Policy Facts had the opportunity to interview Nicole on our Groundwork podcast, where she shared how wheat growers support American food aid. “As farmers, we try to support and feed anybody in need… whether it’s locally or across the world,” Berg said.
Barry Evans is a third-generation farmer growing cotton in the Texas panhandle. “As we recognize the 50th anniversary of National Ag Day and think about this year’s theme of growing a climate for tomorrow, sustainability comes to mind—which means leaving the land better than we found it. As farmers, the land is what we love and how we make our living. We want to continue to improve the land so that future generations can farm,” he said. Barry is a U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol grower, who joined the program because it provides data that encourages continuous improvement.
Fourth-generation rice farmer Jennifer James and her family farm 2,000 acres of rice on the family’s more than 100-year-old Century Farm in Arkansas. It is this strong connection to the land and her family’s heritage that drives Jennifer’s passion for sustainability and conservation. Tapping into the expertise available from rice research programs through the University of Arkansas agricultural extension system, she implements a comprehensive range of practices to conserve and protect water, air, and soil quality across her entire operation. “Farmers are the first conservationists,” said Jennifer. “Sustainability has carried over in agriculture and in my family from generation to generation, and I’m honored to play a role in passing it down to generations to come.”
Family legacy is incredibly important to sugarbeet grower Wade Hanson from Minnesota. Wade is a fourth-generation farmer on both sides of his family and he’s raising the fifth generation right now with his wife Jessie. “Without strong sugar policy, my rural community would look vastly different,” said Wade. “Sugarbeets have been in my family for generations, and I hope to give my kids the opportunity to work on my farm alongside me and eventually take over as the next generation.”
These are just a few of the two million growers and producers who feed, clothe, and fuel our nation. We must continue to advance strong farm policies that support America’s farmers and allow them to thrive.