Iowa is the largest exporter of soybeans ($3.6 billion), pork ($2.0 billion), corn ($1.7 billion), feeds and fodder ($1.0 billion), and processed grain products ($775 million) in the United States. Ag groups and organizations celebrated National Ag Day in Washington, D.C. and around the country Tuesday.
The day began with a “Smart Farming” panel at the National Press Club. One participant included Chip Bowling a Maryland Crop farmer with National Corn Growers Association. He says the best way to connect with people in the city who may not understand Ag, is to not be afraid to tell them your story.
“Tell them the benefits of what a GMO does. You need to tell them the benefits of what they think corporate farming is. Ninety-five percent of farms are still family farms but we are bigger, stronger, more technology advanced so we have to go back to telling our story of why we do things.”
“I’ve worked in our seeding factory and in the field. You always kind of have a [piece of equipment] on your operation that is your favorite but you don’t want to tell anyone that, just like picking your favorite child, and I said ‘what was your answer?’ and he said his cellphone.’’ John Deere’s Beverly Flores says.
Ohio pig farmer Lauren Schwab uses her phone everyday.
“I can be out in the barn. Take a picture of a pig and instantly post it for people to see. I would never believe how many people were interested seeing a pig and how it’s cared for.”
Andrew Walmsley sixth generation rancher with American Farm Bureau Federation. He says what Lauren’s doing, creates transparency.
“People are disconnected with agriculture. We have folks who have challenges with science and you combine with people I call conflict entrepreneurs, who make a penny vilifying modern ag production, is a reality we need to face.”
DC National Ag Day celebrations concluded with a reception at the capitol visitor center.