Community Ag Alliance: Agriculture deserves to be appreciated
Steamboat Springs — Is your belly full today? Are you hydrated? Is the jacket on your back keeping you warm?
These things do not happen by accident. They happen because agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. It increasingly contributes to fuel and other bio-products.
In Routt County, $46 million is contributed annually to our economy by sales of livestock, grains, hay and alfalfa. This figure has increased throughout the last three decades in spite of the loss of farmland and the rising age of our producers.
Equally important is the cultural contribution of our ranchers and farmers. Many are multi-generational families whose ancestors built our towns, churches, schools, civic organizations and communities from the time this area was first developed. They remain active with community activities and are the best of the best when it comes to farm production, agribusiness management and marketing, agricultural research and engineering, food science, processing, retailing, banking, education, landscape architecture, urban planning, energy development, veterinary research, wildlife protectors, youth volunteer workers, historians, health care workers, and of course, stewards of the land.
Families have chosen to remain in Routt County, continue in agriculture and hang onto family values. It might be easier to sell their property and move away, but they have made the decision to stay in the Yampa Valley and raise their families in the finest possible lifestyle this country has to offer.
Tradition is important to the fiber of Northwest Colorado’s agriculture but success is also built on applying best management practices for land stewardship, updating energy methods and adapting new technology. In 1960, the American farmer and rancher fed 26 people world-wide. Through increased efficiency in resource management and production techniques, plus a soaring world population that demands progressive and innovation performance, that figure has risen to 155.
The good news is that there is a large contingency of young people who are saddling up and taking the reins of Routt County agriculture. Some are traditional and some are searching for alternative methods. They are educated men and women who understand the challenges before them and are willing to be leaders and contributors for our future. They are looking to the future while garnering the knowledge of the past.
Ag Appreciation Week is March 22 to 29. Community Agriculture Alliance asks you to appreciate what agriculture does for you. Give thought to the fact that food and fiber in America is abundant, affordable and amazing.
Join our promotions. Dine at participating restaurants. Do business with participating retailers. Full details can be found at http://www.communityagalliance.org or by calling our office at 970-879-4370.
Contact your favorite local farmer or rancher. Acknowledge their long, hard hours, and let them know that you appreciate their amazing dedication to a profession that is important to your lifestyle. Recognize your friendship and tell them thanks for producing affordable food and fiber. Show your appreciation for abundant food at the grocery stores and clothing in the retail stores. Say “thanks.”
Marsha Daughenbaugh is executive director of Community Agriculture Alliance.
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