Friday, March 1, 2019

This essay is a merit winner in the 2019 Ag Day Essay Contest.  Visit for more details on National Ag Day.

Agriculture: Food for Life

How will our country lead the way?

Emily Li, Sugar Land, TX

As the minute hand of the clock inches ever closer to noon, the soft rustling of students 
packing their bags begins to intermingle with the cheerful din of the classroom. Suddenly, a 
monotone chime pierces the air. It is time for lunch. Waves of people crash in the halls and 
students rush to claim the best seats in the cafeteria. And, as individuals begin settling in for a nice, filling meal, everyone is, without their knowledge, forging a deeper connection to the 
agricultural world. 

In the United States, every single person is affected by agriculture. Beyond the indisputable fact that farming is what produces the food that fuels the body, many unexpected products can be traced back to the hard, dedicated work of a farmer. Every stylish article of clothing crafted out of leather or cotton, every brilliantly colored crayon held together by soy – even plastic, potentially containing corn, is a product of agriculture. Most Americans would be unable even to imagine life without such commodities. However, as the number of people in the world continues to rise at breakneck speed, fulfilling the rising demands for these amenities could prove to be an issue. 

The global population is projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Currently, the average farmer is 58 years old, and there is a shortfall of students entering agriculture, leaving thousands of jobs unfulfilled each year. These job vacancies present a problem: who will replace current farmers once they have grown too old? If there is nobody to take over agriculture now, the world will soon need to find a new way to feed its people. This is where the latest scientific advancements come into play.

America is currently a trailblazer in innovations meant to lighten the strain placed on farmers by a thriving population. Recent advancements in genetically modified organisms augment existing plants and animals, bolstering their flavor and production. Cutting edge technology such as drones and precision agriculture allow for increased yields in the fields. As a result, more food can reach homes across the nation, and at a lower expense to consumers.  

As the population grows, Americans are opening their eyes to how big of a role agriculture plays on their daily lives. Children are beginning to learn about the importance and impact of farmers from a young age. More Americans are interested in the production and processing of food. Now, one can only hope that the emergence of new agricultural technology will pave the way for the future of American excellence, while simultaneously feeding the United States' ever-expanding populace.