21 March 2009 - Agriculture, Every Day in Every Way

Every year, National Agriculture Week, the first week of Spring, gets an early start in Washington, DC. An important part of that day-long salute to agriculture is the announcement of the winner of the National Agriculture Day Essay Contest. That’s an essay contest for students 7 thru 12 grades. The winning student travels to Washington, D.C. to present the essay at the kick-off banquet, this year held in the headquarters building of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

After Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack delivered his National Agriculture Week message, we then met National Agriculture Essay winner Kelly Kohler, a 10th grade student from Redwood Valley High School in Redwood Falls, MN. The title of her essay...” Agriculture – Every Day in Every Way’. I don’t have room in this column to share all of it, but let me share some excerpts.

It begins “A hard-working farmer will be the first person to tell you that agriculture has an essential part in our every day lives. In small town Minnesota, where a considerable amount of the population has a career in the agricultural industry, this is a widely known and accepted fact. Fields serve as a constant reminder to the inevitable truth that agriculture is a large part of our lives.

On the contrary, in large cities where the view of the fields is hidden by looming skyscrapers, agriculture is practically a foreign concept. Thousands of people from the metropolitan area eat, touch, drink and wear agriculture and for the most part, the urban population is oblivious to the effect agriculture has on their lives.

How are urban dwellers to know that, as they walk down the street, their life is impacted repeatedly by agriculture? The leather briefcase in hand, the burger for lunch and even the shirt on their back are all products of the agricultural industry. The leather and beef came from a cow, the fibers in the shirt from plants that grew on a farmer’s property.”

She concludes her essay...

“Agriculture is everywhere. Even though society seems to have forgotten, it surrounds the countryside, cities and everyone in them. The agricultural industry is one of the most important industries in the world today. A world without agriculture is a world without life.”

The winning words of 10th grader, Kelley Kohler, Redwood Falls, MN. Congratulations, Kelly and thank you for letting me share your thoughts on Samuelson Sez.