Celebrate National Farmers Day

It’s National Farmer’s Day!

Make it a celebration.

October 12 is National Farmer’s Day. It’s a good time to make sure you’re talking about, thinking about and appreciating the hardworking men and women who bring food and fiber to our homes.

National Farmer’s Day was first observed as Old Farmers Day in the 19th century. Not much is known about its origins, but we can keep it alive by spreading the word.

One great way to spread the word about Florida agriculture is by viewing and sharing FFVA’s new video, “The Story of Florida Agriculture: A Rich Legacy and a Bright Future.”

The 4 ½-minute video takes a look at the economic value of the state’s agriculture industry. It points out that agriculture and related industries account for 1.52 million jobs – 14.3 percent of all jobs in the state. Statewide, revenue adds up to $148.6 billion a year.

Florida ranks No. 1 one in the U.S. for producing grapefruit, snap beans, squash, sugar cane, cucumbers, oranges, tomatoes and watermelons.

The video highlights agriculture’s efforts to conserve water and soil resources through best management practices, substantially reducing nutrients in water coming off farms. “By using technology, they grow more food on less land with fewer chemicals,” the video points out.

FFVA grower members featured are:

•Rob Atchley, general manager of citrus operations for Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., in LaBelle

•Rex Clonts, president and owner of Clonts Farms Inc. in Apopka

•Danny Johns, owner of Blue Sky Farms in Hastings

•David Hill, owner of Southern Hill Farms in Clermont

•Keith Wedgworth, co-owner of Wedgworth Farms in Belle Glade.

“We take every opportunity to try to educate the public about who we are. Yes, there is agriculture in Florida. Yes, we grow potatoes in Florida,” said Johns in the video. “We want to let people know how sophisticated we are and that we’re your neighbors. We grew up in the community and we support the community,” he said.

View the video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YkbjIUj4fY

Another way to celebrate National Farmer’s Day is to go to a farmers market and ask questions such as “Where did this grow?” and “How do I prepare these?” You also can do this at the supermarket. And while you’re there, be adventurous and pick up something brand new and different to you. Never prepared an eggplant? Ask the produce manager or the store chef, if there is one. Plus, there are countless recipes and how-to videos online.

Another way to celebrate is the thoughtful approach. What’s for dinner? Learn where it came from and how it’s made. That’s a great project for kids, too. Take into account what time of year it is and what’s in season where. That strawberry could come from a variety of growing regions, depending on the season.

Find out what others are saying. Take a peek at #NationalFarmsDay on social media and contribute to the discussion.

And probably most important, be thankful that Florida and U.S. farmers and ranchers are able to feed the country and those outside its borders. Generation after generation plant, care for and harvest fruits, vegetables, wheat, corn, cattle and so many other valuable crops. Give them a thought on National Farmers Day.

And spread the word.

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