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13 Mar 2016 - Emily is a True Winner

March 13 through 20 is National Agriculture Week and communities across the U.S. will be holding special events and programs to salute America’s producers of food, fiber and energy. Tuesday, March 15th is National Agriculture Day in our Nation’s Capitol, featuring a day- long program of events and activities to salute American agriculture. I will be there to serve as M.C. at the Salute to Agriculture banquet that evening at the Whitten Patio, USDA Headquarters.

I will share the stage with several people and I am particularly excited to share it with Emily Dougherty of Whiteland Community High School in Greenland, Indiana. Emily is the winner of the 2016 National Ag Day Contest and I am going to use her words this week on Samuelson Sez-
‘Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet’. Emily writes:

“Ever since I was young, my parents and grandparents have instilled in me a love of agriculture, an appreciation for the land and respect for the generations of farmers before us. The same soil has continually been plowed and planted by my family for over 160 years. Every time I smell the sweet aroma of freshly tilled soil, I quickly think of the history behind the humble soil. My Great-Great-Great- Grandpa cleared the forested land and hand dug a ditch so that he could have fertile farm ground. This land has provided for every generation since 1853. Now, my brothers and I have the honor to become the next generation of our family to farm the land. Generations before us have been phenomenal stewards of the land and now it is our turn to embrace technology to leave the land better than we received it.”

“Awake before dawn and out past the sunset, farmers strive to be proper stewards of the land and to feed the growing world population. In 2050, there is a projected population of nine-billion people on earth.
To feed this population, farmers have to continue to enhance sustainable practices to keep our earth healthy. Since 1982, stewardship has reduced wind and water erosion of crop land by 50%. Biotechnology has reduced runoff by 70% and 41% of acres are farmed using conservation tillage.”

There is a great deal more to Emily Dougherty’s prize winning essay from the National Ag Day Essay Contest and I urge you to go online at agday.org to read the entire presentation.

Let me say thank you for all you do every day to put food on our table, clothes on our back, a roof over our head and now, energy in our tank. I close with a statement often used by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who says “Because of our food producers, America is the only nation on the planet that does not have to depend on any other nation for our food supply.” Amen and Happy Agriculture Day!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.