The following editorial was originally published in the East Oregonian on March 20, National Ag Day
Each American farmer feeds more than 144 people — a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more and doing it better. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in this country.
For 45 years, National Ag Day has recognized and celebrated the abundance provided by American agriculture. Each spring, producers, agricultural associations, corporation, universities, government agencies and others across the country join together in recognition — and appreciation — of agriculture in our country. This year it was officially celebrated Tuesday.
But we're preaching to the choir here in farm country about the work farmers do to keep us well fed at an affordable price. We also know how they support their communities, purchasing equipment and donating to a wide variety of good causes. But on National Ag Day, we learned plenty of information we didn't know, and we decided to share some from the National Agriculture Council with you:
Did you know?
. Hamburger meat from a single steer will make about 720 quarter pound hamburger patties. That's enough for a family of four to enjoy hamburgers each day for nearly six months.
. Straight from the cow, the temperature of cow's milk is about 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
. Farmers and ranchers provide food and habitat for 75 percent of the nation's wildlife.
. An acre of trees can remove about 13 tons of dust and gases every year from the surrounding environment.
. Americans eat about 125 pounds of potatoes a year, about half from fresh potatoes and half in processed foods.
. Onions contain a mild antibiotic that fights infections, soothes burns, tames bee stings and relieves the itch of athletes foot.
. One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of pop.
. A family of four could live for 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.
. Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
. Heart valves from hogs are used to replace damaged or diseased human heart valves.
. One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
. One bale of cotton can produce 1,217 men's T-shirts or 313,600 $100 bills.
. Honeybees must tap 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey. Each worker honey bee makes 1/12th teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
. Cotton is a food crop. Almost 200 million gallons of cottonseed oil are used in food products such as margarine and salad dressing. Cottonseed and cottonseed meal are used in feed for livestock and poultry. And even products such as toothpaste, ice cream, and the paper money used to buy them contain by-products of the cotton seed.
. It takes just 40 days for most Americans to earn enough money to pay for their food supply for the entire year. In comparison with the 129 days it takes the average American to earn enough money to pay federal, state and local taxes for the year.
. More than 96 billion pounds of edible "surplus" food is thrown away in the U.S. Each year. It is estimated that almost 27 percent of our food supply is wasted.