During this year’s Super Bowl, one commercial elevated the American farmer to a height where the country had to take pause and notice them. While millions of Americans waited for funny commercials, Paul Harvey’s voice quietly revealed to us why “God made a farmer.” This excerpt from his 1987 speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation opened many Americans’ eyes to all the hard work that farmers put in to feed their families and feed their country.
Local farmers are part of the agricultural success of America. St. Joseph is an urban island in a rural sea. Neighboring towns travel into St. Joseph for its shops and conveniences and St. Joseph benefits from the fruits of regional farmers’ labor and from their skills and ethics of working hard to get a job done right.
Our northwest region farms are some of the 2 million farms in America that grow food for the world. The harvest bounty travels far beyond Missouri and the nation’s boundary, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Soybean Association. Nearly 60 percent of the world’s corn and 33 percent of the world’s soybeans are grown by American farmers. These crops feed millions of humans and animals and also provide biofuel in this world that consumes fuel and energy so rapidly.
The agricultural success of this region and of the entire country is due to technological advances in seeds, plant production, farm equipment, and animal health. Within St. Joseph, companies like Becker Underwood, Omnium, Albaugh, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., and others are working to aid the agricultural success of the region and beyond. Some of these companies are producing seeds that are better able to resist pest damage, weed invasion, and drought. The use of biotechnology has been helping farmers produce more food at a faster rate in order to keep up with the demand of the world’s growing population.
The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) credits America’s growing crop yields to the biotechnological advances that are refining and aiding the growth and life of the farmers’ fields across the nation. As of 2011, nearly 88 percent of the corn and 93 percent of soybeans grown in America were biotechnological varieties.
Local farmers gain from living in this region that ranks as one of the top ten places in the country for a strong concentration of agricultural science and life science employment opportunities. St. Joseph is located in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor that contains multiple agricultural research companies, manufacturers, and offers training facilities and agricultural research opportunities on university campuses like Missouri Western State University.
The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that 23 million Americans are employed in an agricultural field or one relating directly to it. From the farmers who plant the seeds to the shopkeepers who put the packaged fruits and vegetables on the grocery store shelf, millions of producers and consumers gain from the nation’s agricultural success.