PNW Ag Leaders Celebrate National Farmer’s Day
We celebrate lots of "National Days" across the U.S. but one that should be important to all of us is National Farmer's Day.
A farmer is defined as a "a person who cultivates land or crops or livestock (such as livestock or fish) according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. For producers across the Pacific Northwest, this covers a vast amount of crops, livestock, and aquaculture.
Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Director Derek Sandison mentioned that agriculture is a ten billion dollar industry for the state, prior to processing or value added work, and directly employs 65,000 workers.
"Half the cropland in the U.S. is devoted to growing two crops, corn and soybeans, but our farmers produce over 300 crops and commodities commercially. We grow many commodity crops but also have a large number of specialty crops," Sandison explained. "The number one product in Washington, in terms of farmgate value, is apples making up about two billions dollars of that ten billion dollar total."
Director Sandison also mentioned hops, cherries, grapes, blueberries, and other specialty crops are major contributors to the ag economy.
Oregon's U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden also commented on the importance of agriculture in the Beaver State hosting round tables with farmers and agriculture industries to discuss the Farm Bill, drought impacts, and other ag issues.
"What we do best in this state is grow things," Wyden said. "We add value to them and then ship them all over the world!"
"We grow more variety of crops than any other state in the union," Merkley stated.
Idaho Governor Brad Little was not available to comment his support for farmers and ranchers on National Farmer's Day because he was attending the treatment site to eradicate quagga mussels in the Snake River. Governor Little knows how important that river is to helping producers in his state and others across the PNW.
There's no doubt about it, the Pacific Northwest grows a variety of crops and livestock that consumers all over the world get to enjoy. If you see a farmer or rancher, tell them thank you for providing so much for your community, the country, and the world.
Happy National Farmer's Day!
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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals