Ag Day

March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

This past week was National “Ag-Week” and Tuesday was “Ag-Day” here in Washington, D.C. AgriPulse had a big event down at the Capitol where Kansas Senator Pat Roberts spoke, reminding us of the remarkable contribution that the U.S. ag industry makes to not only this country but the world. The atrium at the Department of Agriculture was the perfect site for another big reception and dinner honoring the Jaycee Outstanding Young Farmers, 4-H members, FFA leaders, and agriculture leaders representing pork, beef, rice, cotton, corn, soybeans – you name it! Adding to the celebration was John Deere, Monsanto, and a host of other leading agribusiness companies.

I cannot remember a more appropriate time to give the ag industry the kind of recognition that it deserves. Think about it. Eighty years ago a third of Americans were farmers. Today, less than 2 percent are farmers. Today, we produce an abundance unimagined eighty years ago. The American family spends only 8 percent of the family income on food. In Europe, families will spend 15 percent and in Africa, they will spend 40 percent.

This is a new day. We have bigger farms and fewer farmers. Much more efficient – using “precision farming” with GPS, genetic engineering, the best seeds and crop protection.

Take a drive across the heartland of this country. Farm after farm will pass your windshield. Corn, wheat, soybeans, hogs, and cattle – all family farms. Today’s farms are capital-intensive, not labor-intensive. That releases millions of our citizens to do other things. They can build cars, flat-screen TVs, computers – all kinds of gadgets.

We have the good life in abundance, certainly in part because of the American farmer and rancher, tractor manufacturer, food processor, and all the members of the food team.

Spring is here. Let’s work together and make this a great year.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.