National Ag Day, celebrated each year in March, has come to be a rallying cry for some in the ag community, gathering farmers, ranchers, consumers, legislators and others together in support for the industry.
This year's festivities kicked off Tuesday in Washington, D.C., with the unveiling of a new statue in the U.S. Capitol building's statuary hall to recognize the contributions of Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Also on tap is a farm-focused luncheon, and later, participants will enjoy a U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance young farmers discussion panel, a celebration of agriculture dinner and two documentary unveilings.
National agriculture groups also got in on the action, urging farmers and ranchers to use the day to celebrate family farming and the diversity of the industry.
"Family farmers constitute 96% of all farms in the United States and 45% of the world’s population makes its living directly from farming," pointed out Chandler Goule, senior vice president of programs for the National Farmers Union. "Without family farmers, there would be no National Ag Day," he said.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack suggested a celebration of diversity. "Today and every day, we celebrate the extraordinary diversity and productivity of American agriculture," he said in a released statement. "Farms and ranches of all forms and all sizes contribute to the safe, healthy, affordable food supply we enjoy in the United States."
Sharing your story
Farmers and ranchers were also encouraged to share their farm's story via social media Tuesday, following with ag day's theme, "Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed."
"National Ag Day gives us an amazing opportunity to showcase agriculture and share the true success story that we see as we look out across rural America today," commented Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
Capitalizing on the added interest in the industry, several farmers and ranchers shared photos of their operations via Twitter Tuesday morning. Here's just a few of them:
Happy #AgDay from our farm to all if you! Thanks for letting us feed you and thanks to my fellow farmers! (Karra James/@frontierfarmgal)
Happy #AgDay! (Fuchs Limousin/@Fuchslimousin)
happy #agday. Proud to feed my cows today. (Maria Cox/@MariaCoxFarm)
No better way to start the day. Well done Nebraska, well done! (Mike Zwingman/@UFCRD300)
Ag Day celebrations will continue throughout the week in several states, as many local entities host Farmer's Share breakfasts and other awareness events.