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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
By Mason City Globe Gazette
As agriculture carries out its business in its very efficient manner, many of us may take it for granted.
We know ag is an economic powerhouse that helps feed the world and that corn and soybeans are grown to do just that along with making fuel to power our vehicles.
But, says Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association, there's a general disconnect between Iowa and agriculture - and that 70 percent of Iowans know little or nothing about farming.
Putze, external relations director for the soybean organization, addressed the Chamber of Commerce Ag Breakfast and said it is a “time for perspective and a call to action.”
He presented some facts worth noting:
- Only 3 to 4 percent of the 28 percent land mass in the world is suitable for growing crops.
- The world's population is expected to increase by nearly 3 billion by 2050, from 6 billion people to around 9.3 billion, meaning many more people being fed off those same acres. Combined with a growing middle class in developing countries, that means farmers will be required to double worldwide food output. More food must be produced in the next 40 years than in the past 10,000 combined, he said.
- While food output must grow, fewer Americans are involved in making it happen. About 98 percent of Americans were involved with ag a century ago; now, it's about 2 percent.
Then Putze threw down a challenge for farmers that he said will help alleviate that disconnect - to tell family and friends why they farm, what they do and what it means to be a farmer.
He said while people may be ignorant of what ag is all about, they are conscious of what they're feeding themselves and their families - they want to know the origin of their food and who provides it. Iowa farmers are best-qualified to do that, he said.
Events like Chamber Ag Breakfast help do that - and it's obvious the interest was high judging by the big crowd. So do county fairs and all of the other events farmers help sponsor and take part in.
Iowa farmers have a great story to tell about all the risks and rewards involved in their way of life.
It's a story we embrace and one we hope all North Iowans will do as well.
Iowa farmers feed the world and run our vehicles in ways we never could have imagined in years past. For that we are most appreciative - and certainly amazed.
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