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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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March 16, 2010

Up for a Challenge? In Honor of National Agriculture Week

This week, March 14th through the 20th, is National Agriculture Week. There are many agriculture related events going on nationwide. Locally, we have our annual Marin County Farm Day coming up on Thursday the 18th. Attending one of such events is one thing you can do to gain more knowledge about agriculture, while having fun at the same time!

Wondering how to support your local farmer? Buying their products is a way to show that support, but it also must be recognized that farmers need to have all the tools to produce that product. They need access to water. They need to be able to keep land in production. They need to be able to control pests and diseases. All these factors are important. I think most of us, nationwide really do appreciate agriculture. In honor of National Agriculture Week, I ask you to challenge yourself to better understand what it takes to produce crops and livestock.

The National Ag Day program believes that every American should:

  • understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced.
  • value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.

Agriculture has definitely suffered hard times just like other sectors of the economy. Everyone is in this together. But I'm so proud of our farmers and ranchers, nationwide for continuing to make incredible contributions to food banks and other need-based organizations as well as providing food and fiber for all of us. Thank a farmer when you see one!

Fun Agriculture Facts:

Cows~

  • Straight from the cow, the temperature of cow's milk is about 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cheese was first made over 4,000 years ago in Asia.
  • A dairy cow consumes 35 gallons of water, 20 pounds of grain and concentrated feed and 35 pounds of hay or silage in just one day.

Bees~

  • A hive of bees flies over 55,000 miles to bring you one pound of honey.
  • A honey bee can fly 15 miles per hour.
  • Honey bees visit 50-100 flowers during one honey collecting trip.
  • In one day, a honey bee can fly 12 miles and pollinate up to 10,000 flowers.
  • Honey bee workers must visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey.

Forests~

  • Almost a third of the world's total land area is covered by forests.
  • Thirty to 40 gallons of sugar maple sap must be boiled down to make just one gallon of maple syrup.
  • Many farmers grow more than just grains, vegetable and livestock. Some farmers grow trees. This is called a woodlot. A woodlot is not an original forest, because the timber has been cut down before. Sometimes the trees in a woodlot have been cut down four, five, or even six times. After the trees have been cut down, the farmer lets them grow up again, until they are big enough to be harvested once more.

New Ways to Help the Planet~

  • Farmers and ranchers provide food and habitat for 75% of the nations wildlife.
  • Plant and animal biotechnology have resulted in new antibodies for immunizations. Agriculture has also contributed to research that has helped develop surgical techniques and pharmaceuticals that help save lives.
  • Ethanol and new bio-diesel fuels made from corn, soybeans and other grains are beneficial to the environment and helps contribute to energy independence for the U.S.

Get Your 5 Servings a Day~

  • Onions contain a mild antibiotic that fights infections, soothes burns, tames bee stings and relieves the itch of athletes foot.
  • Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated fruits. They have been around for more than 8,000 years.
  • Americans eat about 125 pounds of potatoes a year, about half from fresh potatoes and half in processed foods.

BaaBaa~

  • There are 914 different breeds of sheep in the world. There are 35 breeds in the U.S.
  • Steps to your making some of your favorite clothes:
  1. Sheep are sheared in the spring, their wool is removed in one piece called fleece.
  2. Next, the fleece is washed in big tubs to removed dirt, grease and grass, this process is called scouring.
  3. The clean, dry wool is then carded. Carding means to comb the wool to straighten the fibers.
  4. The next process is called spinning. This is when the wool will be spun into yarn.
  5. Finally, the yarn is knitted or woven into fabric.

Kind of Corny~

  • One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of soda pop.
  • There are about 600 kernels on each ear of corn.
  • Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Each tassel on a corn plant releases as many as 5 million grains of pollen.

Oink Oink~

  • Pigs can't sweat. Pigs have no sweat glands, that is why they roll around in mud to cool off.
  • Heart valves from hogs are used to replace damaged or diseased human heart valves.
  • A pig can run a 7 minute mile. (okay, that's faster than me!)
  • A baby pig, or piglet, weighs about 3 1/2 pounds at birth and will double its weight in just 7 days.

Depending on Each Other

  • Agriculture land provides food and habitat for 75% of the nation's wildlife. Deer, moose, fowl, and other species have shown significant population increases in the past several years. (definitely more deer on our ranch)
  • Remember this guy(one of many), who hangs out in our commodity barn?
  • Genetic engineering with plants and animals has resulted in new antibodies for immunizations. Other research has developed surgical techniques and pharmaceuticals from agriculture that helps save lives.

Crazy for Cotton~

  • One bale of cotton can produce 1,217 men's t-shirts or 313,600 one-hundred dollar bills.
  • Cotton is a food crop. Almost 200 million gallons of cottonseed oil are used in food products such as margarine and salad dressing. Cottonseed and cottonseed meal are used in feed for livestock and poultry. And even products such as toothpaste, and ice cream. What are you doing for National Ag Week? I would love to hear!

Happy Tuesday!

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