Celebrating National Ag Day on March 20
By State Senator Craig Estes
Thursday, March 20, marks National Agriculture Day organized by the Agriculture Council of America to celebrate the agricultural bounty produced by the agricultural industry in providing the food, clothing, and other materials we use and enjoy everyday. Agriculture, however, is not just about the food on the table or the clothes in the closet, but is a vital part of our economy in creating jobs and expanding opportunity.
While many sectors of our economy rely on foreign providers such as oil and manufacturing, a simple look out across the fields of Texas reminds us that we are still reliant on our domestic food production for the standard of living we enjoy, and much of the world relies on our food supply to simply survive.
Nationally, agricultural products are America's number one export and we export $17 billion more in products than we import. Texas is one of the leading states in international exports, with each Texas farmer producing enough food and fiber for 93 people in the United States and 33 abroad.
Texas lore has long centered on energy with oil and natural gas, but the Texas agriculture industry is the second largest sector of the economy generating $73 billion a year. While just two percent of the Texas workforce is directly employed in day to day farming or ranching, one in seven Texas workers owe their job to Texas agriculture.
Agriculture producers contribute significantly to our way of life and our standard of living. American consumers spend less on food as a percentage of their income than any other consumer in the world. We sometimes take for granted that a trip to the grocery store will always be met with shelves stocked full with a rich variety.
The agricultural industry is woven into the fabric of Texas and America through our history and our economy. We are blessed to be a leading breadbasket in the world providing a secure source for vital food supplies, natural fibers, and raw materials. Moving forward, our agricultural industry has the capacity and opportunity to provide not only for a secure source of food, but also fuel with an expanding use of renewable energy producing a variety of biofuels and other agricultural bi-products with the potential for energy production.
Keeping our agricultural economy sound and strong will continue to provide job creation, economic development, and revitalization in our rural and suburban areas.
State Senator Craig Estes (Wichita Falls-R) is Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and Coastal Resources, and represents Senate District 30 comprised of Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cooke, part of Collin, part of Denton, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wilbarger, Wise, Wichita, and Young counties.