National Agriculture Week

March 21, 2007

March 21, 2007

Another year rolls around and we find ourselves celebrating National Ag Week. This is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by this amazing industry. The Ag Council ofAmerica coordinates the celebration. Last week at t he National Press Club here in D.C., ADM and John Deere served as hosts of an impressive luncheon event. Ag Secretary Johannes headlined the program preceded by House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson.

Although it is difficult to make the public, which becomes more urban every year, aware of agriculture and the enormous contribution that we make, events like this help. Most city people don't realize that 99% of our farms are family operations. They think farming is just big corporations. 41 % of total U.S. land is farm land. To reaIly appreciate the vast stretch of crop land, one need only fly or drive across this country. Corn, soy beans, wheat, rice, cotton, vegetables as far as the eye can see.

Here in the U.S., we spend less than 10% of family income on food. No other country can match us. That leaves all the rest of our income to buy I-pods, f1at screen TVs, 2-dollar cups of coffee, expensive sneakers, trendy clothes, and gadgets ofall kinds. We have the good life served up to us, certainly in part, because of the American farmer and rancher, tractor manufacturer, food processor and all the members of the food team. They are just unbelievable.

It all starts with the farm family. The U.S. farm family feeds more than 130 people in the U.S. and abroad. In 1930, a farm family was feeding 24 people. A 4-wheel drive tractor is as powerful as 300 horses. In no modern country in the world can the consumer get the value and variety in food that the American consumer takes for granted. And now, we are being asked to help provide energy security by producing renewable fuels. We can do it.

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.