Traditionally, National Ag Day has been observed on the first day of spring. This year, the powers at be moved Ag Day to March 8 because Congress was not going to be in session, and they wanted lawmakers to attend Ag Day festivities in Washington. Wednesday on Capitol Hill, the US Farmers and Ranchers Association, (USFRA) held a dialogue about food production. The program consisted of a panel discussion featuring producers, government officials, and food production companies. Consumers could send in questions via social media outlets and the discussion was streamed live on the internet. Most of the subjects covered dealt with the environment, food safety, and animal welfare.
Dr. Eileen Langdon, a North Caroline veterinarian, said famers are taking better care of their animals today than ever before, “Farmers in my area are using the certification programs like Pork PQA and the Beef Quality Assurance program to really raise the bar on animal care.” She said the producers she works with feel a moral imperative to treat animals well. Dr. Langdon, along with her husband John and their children, live on a working farm in Benson, NC where they raise pigs, cattle and a variety of crops. Dr. Langdon values her role as a long-term steward of the land and takes responsibility for the care of their farm, in the interest of their family, neighbors, and industry.
Another panelist, Dave White, chief of the NRCS, said the important message for Ag Day is that farmers produce food not big companies, “Walk into any grocery store and you will find over 20,000 products. Most did not come from factories but from the fact that we have 6 inches of top soil, occasional rains, and the miracle of photosynthesis.” He said it is important to support agriculture so that this bounty will be there for generations to come. Other members of the panel included Patrick O’Toole, a Wyoming-Colorado rancher; Bryan Dierlam, Director Of Government Affairs at Cargill; and Dr. Roger Beachy, former director National Institute Of Food And Agriculture.
In Indiana on Thursday, a special Ag Day event will be held at the Statehouse, sponsored by ISDA and the Indiana Family of Farmers. Called “From Tractor to Truck,” the event capitalizes on the popularity of food trucks to connect Indianapolis consumers with a positive food message. Indiana FFA members will be on hand to talk with lunchtime consumers about Indiana agriculture and about where their food comes from. “This event has further enabled us to reach our community and share with them that quality agriculture provides not only quality food but a wide variety of food choices,” said Joe Kelsay, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “I am proud to say that the food we all can enjoy every day on every one of these food trucks or at the grocery store or farmers market or half way around the world is in part because of Indiana’s 61,000 family farms.”
The following food trucks will be available:
Scratch Truck (@scratchtruck)
Scout’s Treats (@scoutstreats)
Tacos without Borders (@tacoswoborders)
New York Slice (@TheNYslice)
West Coast Tacos (@westcoastacos)
Some of this! Some of that! (@SOTSOT1)
Get Your Plate in Shape at each Food Truck for National Nutrition Month with some udderly delicious FREE dairy products courtesy of Prairie Farms as well as carrots and apples from Piazza Produce. Americans are consumed with what we need to limit or eliminate from our plate to make it healthy, but to “Get Our Plate in Shape,” consumers typically just need to add foods that are nutritionally sound, like fruits and vegetables or low-fat dairy, to get that nutrition boost. Nutritional “AG”visors will be available at each truck if you have any further nutrition questions.
Watch for coverage here at Hoosier Ag Today.com.
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