Abbey Farms is proud of our role as an urban farm. So, were happy to support National Ag Day 2017.
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. Next year, we’re excited that our dream of an apple orchard begins!
2017 National Ag Day
March 21, 2017 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 and fiber 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 and fiber industry.
This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Food for Life.” It marks the 44th anniversary of National Ag Day. In its honor, we’re sharing some agriculturally-related facts with you!
Did you know that 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.
There are over seven billion people in the world today, which means that’s over seven billion mouths to feed every day. 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.
Abbey Farms is, of course, a contributor to the production of pumpkins and Christmas trees. The Farm Flavors website also says that pumpkins grown in Illinois had a production value of $47.13 million in 2014. The state’s producers harvested 7.45 million hundredweight of pumpkins – enough to fill almost 1,865 full-size pickup trucks. Kane is one of the top 10 counties in Illinois for producing pumpkins.
This year, our pumpkin patch will be larger, according to Eric Mott, Abbey Farms farm operations manager. Last year, we grew about five acres of six different varieties of pumpkins. Eric says Abbey Farms sold 60,000 pounds of pumpkins last year, nearly all of it grown on the farm. He hopes to plant 12 or more varieties of pumpkins on 8.5 acres this year. This means that those of you looking for interesting decorative pumpkins will have more to choose!
Jackie Rakers is an Illinois-certified teacher and head of the Abbey Farms education program. She is currently adding the final additions to this summer’s camps. The camps will feature age-appropriate educational activities and farm-based play. Watch for more information about the various thematic camps and registration soon!
In the meantime, we encourage you to learn more about how your food is grown. 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!
Tags: National Ag Day, Farmers, Abbey Farms, Pumpkins, Farm Education, Agricultural Education, Thank A Farmer, Food, Farm Fresh News, Farm to Table
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