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COLUMN: Celebrate National Ag Day

March 20, 2017
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

Farming is hard work. It means early mornings and late evenings. Harvest time can be nerve-wracking, along with the constant fear that fickle Mother Nature may be your worst enemy—or maybe your best friend. But when you’re a farmer, you realize that what you do is valuable.

Farming is a calling that serves the most fundamental purpose: feeding the world. The modern revolution in agriculture means that food produced today is safer, more affordable, and more abundant than it has ever been in America and most parts of the world.

This March 21st we celebrate National Ag Day in order to recognize all farmers and agriculture producers who contribute so much to our way of life. I am a third-generation farmer myself, and proud of it. Involvement in agriculture goes beyond the vital role of production, however. As a society, not only do we need farmers, but we need other people to support agriculture. Jobs in sales, research, biotechnology, manufacturing, education, and even in public service, are tied to agriculture. The list goes on. These jobs offer young people additional avenues to make a living and contribute to their communities.

I encourage young people who are looking for fulfilling and meaningful careers connected with the agriculture sector to consider joining the search for innovative ways to enable us to produce better food more efficiently. Every young American should be familiar with the father of the 20th century’s “Green Revolution.” Iowan Norman Borlaug earned the Nobel Prize in 1970 for his agriculture-focused research that has ultimately allowed hundreds of millions—if not billions—of people to break free from starvation. Before Borlaug’s pioneering advances in wheat cultivation boosted harvests, populous nations such as India, Pakistan, and China struggled to feed many of their people, where famine was a common fear. Borlaug’s example shows that agriculture is really a humanitarian venture.

From the border with Canada to the border with Oregon, Central Washington is defined largely by its farming communities. Washingtonians work to sell the highest quality products to customers all around the world. In public policy, some of the most critical issues for agriculture in Central Washington include supporting trade, immigration reform, and water infrastructure.

So to that young person contemplating your future in Washington, consider some of the many ways that you, too, can be part of a dynamic and vital industry. We need you.