Agriculture is essential to everyday life. America’s farmers and ranchers share a commitment to protecting the land and meeting the demands of a growing population. They are up before the sun, day in and day out, to put food on the table for the nation.

March 18, 2015 is National Ag Day, a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture, reminding citizens that agriculture is critical to our livelihood and showing the importance of agriculture education for today’s youth. Educating the youth at an early age about the importance of agriculture is vital to future sustainability.

“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.”

Over the course of the next 40 years, the Earth’s total population will increase from 7.3 billion 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 input 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 private 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 will celebrate National Ag Day with special stories, facts and videos on the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the week. Join the conversations by following @noblefoundation and #agday2015.

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.