Letter to the Editor

Addressing the importance of agriculture

Friday, November 18, 2011

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to a recent letter to the editor titled, "An Open Letter to President Clinton," that was published on Wednesday, Nov.16, 2011. As I read the letter, I became deeply concerned about the common misconceptions that society has about the agricultural industry.

The agricultural industry has an extreme importance in society. Agriculturalists are required to produce the food and fiber for this great country's people. Imagine less than 2 percent of the population being able to produce enough food and fiber for the other 98 percent.

Sounds intangible, right? Wrong. Today, these are the exact statistics of the agricultural industry. Less than 2 percent of the population is making it possible for the rest to simply live and breathe!

Accomplishing this astronomical feat is amazing in itself; however, agriculturalists take it one step further. Agriculturalists have a strictly regulated field of occupation. The food and fiber they produce must meet the high standards of regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). While the consumers have the FDA and USDA to make sure that their food and fiber is safe, they can also be insured that agriculturalists would not produce anything they themselves would not consume.

In addition, agriculturalists are some of the most passionate people I know. I have yet to meet an agriculturalist who does not genuinely care about the responsibility of their occupation.

While society is busy bashing new technology and production methods that are being implemented to improve agriculture, I can assure you that somewhere there is an agriculturalist out there helping a cow give birth to her first calf, or harvesting the wheat that will make your bread. How many of the critics have ever performed these tasks, or aided a sow in farrowing her litter of piglets late into the night? Agriculturalists realize the importance of their occupation. They truly care about what they do, and they are truly amazing at what they do.

Now, as agriculturalists we also see the importance of advocating for our industry. As agriculturalists, it is vital that we help to build consumer confidence, educate the misinformed, and continue creating a more sustainable future for tomorrow's agriculture and the American public.

As a future agriculturalist myself, I see the importance in agricultural literacy, and I will strive to help make improvements in that area.

Cameron Mann