October 12th is National Farmer’s Day, and it’s a day for everyone to acknowledge the hard work that goes into feeding and supplying a nation. The day generally encourages everyone to thank the farmers and ranchers in their lives and to pay tribute in some way to the unknown individuals who plow, sow, raise, feed, and harvest to provide the food and materials that our country needs to succeed. Explore the history of the day below.
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According to the website NationalDayCalendar.com, National Farmer’s Day was once called Old Farmer’s Day, and it has deep roots that go back to when agriculture was much more common in everyday life. Essentially, the day was to thank farmers for their hard work and contribution to the economy. It is believed that agriculture is one of the world’s oldest industries, and the economies of many countries still rest squarely on the shoulders of the agricultural industry.
The day was set on October 12th because it is after the traditional harvest times of many crops—back before cold-hardy cultivars and technologies like high tunnels and other method such to extend the growing season were put into practice. That way, the farmers themselves would be able to join in the festivities because they would be done with the harvest.
2 million farms dot America’s rural landscape. About 98% of U.S. farms are operated by families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations (America’s Diverse Family Farms, 2018 Edition).
87% of U.S. ag products sold are produced on family farms or ranches.
One U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase by 2.2 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is now produced.
• Large-scale family farms accounted for the largest share of production, at 39 percent.
• Family farms of various types together accounted for 98 percent of farms and 87 percent of production in 2017.
• Nonfamily farms accounted for the remaining farms (2 percent) and production (13 percent). Fifteen percent of nonfamily farms had gross cash farm income (GCFI) of $1,000,000 or more, and they accounted for 89 percent of nonfamily farms’ production. Examples of nonfamily farms include partnerships of unrelated partners, closely held nonfamily corporations, farms with a hired operator unrelated to the owners, and (relatively few) publicly held corporations.