We all have to eat; nevertheless, we don’t often think about where the food we eat originates. For most of us, the days of living as hunter gatherers has faded into the annals of history. Except for a few isolated tribes, that lifestyle died when humans started cultivating food rather than hunting for it. The staff at National Geographic notes, “The development of agricultural about 12,000 years ago changed the way humans lived. They switched from nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles to permanent settlements and farming. … Out of agriculture, cities and civilizations grew, and because crops and animals could now be farmed to meet demand, the global population rocketed — from some five million people 10,000 years ago, to more than [eight] billion today.”
Although historians talk about society moving out of the Agrarian Era into the Industrial Age, the truth is that society will never truly leave the Agrarian Era. Feeding the world’s population will continue to be a pressing priority. U.S. Presidents have had a few things to say about agriculture. George Washington once stated, “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.” It may not be the most healthful, but agriculture is certainly a most useful and noble vocation. Thomas Jefferson added, “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals & happiness.” As farmers know, however, the agrarian life can be a difficult. Dwight D. Eisenhower noted, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” Farmers also know that agricultural can be a financial struggle. John F. Kennedy explained, “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” So it’s fitting that a day is set aside to honor those who produce the food we eat.
History of National Agriculture Day
The National Today staff reports, “National Ag Day is arranged by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). This is a non-profit organization that comprises all the leaders in the agriculture and food community. This day is observed to honor the efforts of people related to agriculture and promote awareness about these efforts amongst people. It is that day of the year when all the producers, agriculture organizations, universities, corporations, and government departments take out some time to recognize the greatness of agriculture. National Ag Day was founded by the Agriculture Council of America in 1973.” When the ACA announced the date for this year’s celebration, it noted, “This will mark the 50th anniversary of National Ag Day. … The theme for National Ag Day 2023 is ‘Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.'” The ACA adds, “[National Ag Day celebrations] mark a nationwide effort to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us.” They also released the following video.
The staff at National Days Today explains that the agricultural sector does more than simply put food on our tables. They write, “Apart from providing the raw materials for our favorite dishes, agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the U.S. everything around us involves a part of agriculture, be it the sandwich in our lunch boxes to our sweaters and bedsheets. It is a major factor in our communities, small or large. And it doesn’t end here; our medicines, the fuel that runs our vehicles, our books, and stationery are also gifts of agriculture. It also employs the field to store factories and processing units and, therefore, boost the nation’s economy. It also provides a range of innovation areas for biotechnologists and other scientists to come up with creative solutions for better performance. Today, there are thousands of researches taking place, providing minute to large scale solutions for farmers to yield healthier crops at a low price.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) notes, “The U.S. agriculture sector extends beyond the farm business to include a range of farm-related industries. In 2021, agriculture, food, and related industries contributed 5.4 percent to U.S. gross domestic product [roughly $1.264 trillion] and provided 10.5 percent of U.S. employment [approximately 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs]; Americans’ expenditures on food amount to 12 percent of household budgets on average.”
Although today is a national celebration honoring all individuals and organizations involved in America’s agricultural sector, we should also honor those involved in the global agriculture value chain. They face all of the same challenges found in the U.S. as well as many other challenges. Ensuring that agricultural products reach consumers around the world is not an easy task either. Supply chain professionals, consumer packaged goods manufacturers, wholesalers, warehousers, and grocers all deserve recognition on this day. Agricultural specialist and author Brenda Schoepp reminds us how important farmers are in our lives. She stated, “My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher. But every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” Happy National Agriculture Day!
 Staff, “The Development of Agriculture,” National Geographic, 8 July 2022.
 Julia Ludlam, “20 Quotes That Celebrate Life on the Farm,” Country Living, 14 February 2020. All presidential quotes come from this article.
 Staff, “National Ag Day – March 22, 2023,” National Today.
 Staff, “2023 National Ag Day – Agriculture Council of America Announces 2023 National Ag Day Date & Theme,” 9 November 2022.
 Staff, “National Ag Day,” National Days Today.
 Staff, “Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy,” USDA Economic Research Service, 26 January 2023.