Every day of every year, American farmers and ranchers provide the food, feed and fiber that form the foundation of society. On Tuesday, society took one day to say "Thank you."
"Every American should understand how the food we eat and the seemingly endless stream of goods from agriculture are produced," said Bill Buckner, president and CEO of the Noble Foundation. "We must value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. Nothing is more fundamental to our existence than food and the land it springs from."
Currently, global population stands at 7 billion people with more than 1 billion individuals already classified as "malnourished." Food riots are becoming more frequent.
Over the course of the next 40 years, the Earth's total population will bulge to more than 9 billion, meaning that global agricultural producers will need to increase food production by 70 percent to meet demand.
At face value, the challenge is daunting enough, but the agriculture crisis is compounded by decreased availability of quality land (due to increased desertification and urban sprawl), decreased water and soil resources, and the need for more efficient fertilizer and pesticide use.
"These are real challenges that will affect us all. We cannot run from them. We must face them together," Buckner said. "We must increase our commitment to agricultural research and our support to our farmers and ranchers. That is why we celebrate National Ag Day. These men and women are the stewards of the land. For generations, they have provided safe, affordable, abundant food for our families. In the next generation, they will have to do even more."
The Noble Foundation, which is the nation's largest nonprofit plant science and agricultural institution, focuses on advancing agricultural science and practice by conducting field and laboratory research, and by providing consultation to farmers and ranchers in the Southern Great Plains.
Lloyd Noble established the Noble Foundation in 1945 to educate and encourage area farmers and ranchers to practice land stewardship and resource conservation. For almost seven decades, the Noble Foundation has provided education and expert counsel to agricultural producers, developed hardier plants for their fields, and conducted industry-shaping research to advance agriculture.
"The Noble Foundation is one of many organizations focused on advancing agriculture worldwide," Buckner said. "Support for our agricultural producers and the industry as a whole is pivotal because of the looming agriculture crisis. We work to provide solutions to the agricultural challenges facing the region, nation and world."
The Noble Foundation is celebrating National Ag Day with special facts and videos on our Facebook and Twitter pages this week.
National Ag Day was founded by the American Council of Agriculture in 1973. The American Council of Agriculture is an organization composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing public awareness of agriculture's vital role in our society.