On National Farmers Day, we celebrate the farmers and ag leaders who make our everyday life possible. While we don’t always think about how ag impacts our day to day lives, agriculture helps provide us with food, clothing, and shelter, as well as jobs. In fact, in 2015, 21 million full- and part-time jobs were related to agriculture – that’s around 11% of total U.S. employment!
Farmers work hard to provide a safe and affordable food supply – the average farmer grows enough to feed 165 people! And truly, agriculture producers are leading the way in innovation. While the word “innovation” may bring to mind Silicon Valley or the latest iPhone, farmers are constantly adopting better practices – through automation, data, biotechnology and more – to do more with less.
With biotechnology, our farmers are producing more food than ever before – and doing so in ways that conserve water, preserve the soil, and lessen the need for pesticide applications.
As we’ve noted before, from 1996 to 2015, farmers’ use of crop biotechnology has reduced spraying of crop protection products by 619 million kilograms, an 8.1 percent global reduction. As a result, farmers using biotech crops have reduced the environmental impact associated with their crop protection practices by 18.6 percent.
Crop biotechnology has also helped farmers adopt more sustainable practices like reduced tillage, which decreases the burning of fossil fuels and retains more carbon in the soil, enabling significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Had biotech crops not been grown in 2015, for example, an additional 26.7 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide would have been emitted into the atmosphere, the equivalent of adding 11.9 million cars to the road.
So today, we thank farmers – the backbone of our economy – for everything they do.