Time to talk about one of my favorite groups of people: Farmers! And not just chicken farmers, either!
When you think about all the different walks of life — business owners, educators, contractors, attorneys, healthcare professionals, politicians, factory workers, clergy and more — no occupation has the down-home, warm-your-heart reputation as a farmer.
When I think of farmers from long ago, I think about family members getting up at the crack of dawn, feeding animals, milking cows then going inside to eat a feast for breakfast. Fresh eggs, homemade sausage or bacon and biscuits with homemade jelly on top.
Back out to work the farm animals, the fields or garden. After being in the sun all day and smelling like a cross between sweat and animal waste, you go into fix or eat a supper of home-grown meat, garden fresh vegetables, home-canned peaches and mom’s prize winning chocolate cake. Church on Sunday, big family meal, then back to church on Sunday night. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?
You can still find the same thing today but you need to add a few modern-day truths. Like two outside-the-home, full-time jobs, running kids to ball practice, going to volunteer firefighters’ training, baking cakes for the band boosters, driving 45 minutes because Walmart is the only place to get what you need, overseeing homework, cooking dinner, washing clothes, filling out bank loan papers and worrying about the price of corn.
Farmers are farmers and thank God for them.
Did you know…
• 99 percent of the 2.1 million U.S. farms are operated by families. Not big corporations. (Go, farm families!)
• One U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad.
• Farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home.
• In 1980, farmers and ranchers received 31 cents out of every dollar but now only 16 cents? What’s up with that?
• Like snowflakes, no two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.
• Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world.
• The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds. (That’s a long time!)
• The average dairy cow produces seven gallons of milk a day, or 46,000 glasses of milk a year.
• One pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn. There are 150 yards (450 feet) of wool yarn in a baseball.
• Soybeans are an important ingredient for the production of crayons. In fact, one acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons. (Maroon is my favorite crayon!)
• The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed 86 pounds, about the size of an average third-grader. How’s that for a Thanksgiving dinner?
Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant, affordable and among the world’s safest. Thank You, America farm families, for feeding the United States and the World.
P.S. Valentine’s Day is next Wednesday. Don’t forget to shop locally for your sweetheart or take them out to eat in Hermann!