Abbey Farms is proud of our role as an urban farm. So, we’re happy to support the 2018 National Ag Day.
Yes, we may be more agri-tourism related, but we are also committed to produce fresh food for your table. Each year our produce market has grown, and we plan to plant more vegetables this year as well. We’re giving some fruits a try, too. And soon, we’re excited that our dream of an apple orchard begins!
2018 National Ag Day
March 20, 2018 is National Ag Day. The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) organizes the promotion. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community. They dedicate their efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.
According to ACA, the National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
• Understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced.
• Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
• Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
• Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.
This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Food for Life.” It marks the 45th anniversary of National Ag Day. In its honor, we’re sharing some agriculturally-related facts with you!
Did you know that over 2 million farms dot America’s rural landscape? According to America’s Diverse Family Farms, families – individuals, family partnerships or family corporations – operate about 99 percent of U.S. farms.
Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people, according to ACA. That is a whopping increase over the 25 people fed per farmer in the 1960s.
There are over seven billion people in the world today. Thankfully, today’s farmers produce 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.), compared with 1950. However, the world’s population is predicted to grow to nine million by 2050 – 2 billion more mouths to feed. Whew!
Agriculture in Illinois
In Illinois, there are 72,200 farms according to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. (What a mouthful!) About 75 percent of the state’s total land area is farmland.
FarmFlavor.com says that Illinois ranks at the top for several of the nation’s most important commodities. This includes ranking Number 1 in soybean production, Number 2 in corn and Number 4 in swine. Illinois is also a leader in several specialty crops, such as pumpkins, buckwheat, horseradish and Christmas trees.
Illinois leads in pumpkins
According to the USDA, pumpkin production in Illinois is six times the average of the other top eight pumpkin-producing states – California, Indiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Abbey Farms is, of course, a contributor to the production of pumpkins and Christmas trees. The Annual Statistical Bulletin for Illinois, produced by the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture, says that pumpkins grown in Illinois had a production value of $52.41 million in 2016. (This is the latest data currently available.)
The state’s producers harvested 6.77 million hundredweight of pumpkins. This is more than double that produced in 2015. However, it is still less than 2014’s production. Kane is one of the top 10 counties in Illinois for producing pumpkins.
Again, this year, the varieties of pumpkins grown in the Abbey Farms pumpkin patch will be larger, according to Eric Mott, Abbey Farms farm operations manager. Last year, we grew 17 different varieties of pumpkins and gourds on about nine acres. This year, the acreage won’t increase much, but Eric says he is upping the varieties to 22. This means that those of you looking for interesting decorative pumpkins can choose from even more!
In the meantime, we encourage you to learn more about how your food is grown. 2018 National Ag Day recognizes and celebrates the abundance provided by American agriculture. Value the importance of agriculture in your daily life. And remember, thank a farmer and all those who work in this vital industry!
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