Every American who lives a healthy life with plenty of food to eat should thank the farmers and ranchers of America for our prosperity. American agriculture is among the most productive agricultural industries in the world, feeding both our bellies and those in foreign countries. According to the USDA, of the 654 billion pounds of food that our country eats every year, 87% comes straight from the crops and livestock produced on our own land. In fact, there are several reasons that farms and ranches really are the backbone of our country.
Here are several things you didn’t know about the ranch and farm industry in the United States:
- Agriculture is a family affair. The farming and ranching industry is more family-centric than any other industry in our country. At least 96.4% of agricultural operations are owned and operated by families, and the business is passed down from one generation to the next. Children of farmers learn the true American ideals of working hard and having strong character, keeping the spirit of Americana alive.
- Farmers and ranchers often don’t own the land they work. Only about 60% of land used for agricultural purposes is owned by the farmers and ranchers who work it. Land for a farm or a ranch for sale goes fast and is incredibly competitive to obtain, and so most farmers rent or lease at least part of the land they use to put food on our table.
So who owns the land used for agriculture in our country? Often, investors look for a farm or ranch for sale that they can buy to generate income by leasing it. Sometimes, when a farmer or rancher retires, they let someone work their land so that it’s productive and they still hold ownership, rather than putting up their farm or ranch for sale. Sometimes the investment it takes to secure ownership of land isn’t economically practical in the volatile agriculture industry.
- Agriculture is the lifeblood of our economy. A strong agricultural economy contributes growth in our economy as a whole. By providing inexpensive fruits, vegetables, and meats to Americans, extra money is funneled into other retail industries, creating gains for everyone.
Another way farms and ranches contribute to our economy is through exports. About 20% of food sourced from American farms and ranches are exported. Every dollar that is earned from a foreign market for American agricultural goods puts an additional $1.22 into other American economies. The agricultural export market also creates over a million jobs for Americans.
- Farmers and ranchers do so much more than raise crops and livestock. You probably picture a rancher with a cowboy hat, but in reality, they wear a lot of hats. Farmers and ranchers are accountants, environmentalists, veterinarians, heavy equipment technicians, and any other hat that needs to be worn. In order to be successful, farmers really are a jack of all trades, master of many.
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