By Karen Ross, Secretary
California Department of Food and Agriculture
As I walked the (enormous) grounds of the World Ag Expo in Tulare earlier this week, I was impressed by how well this event truly shows how big – and yet how intricately connected – agriculture is.
It is a SYSTEM that starts with farmers and ranchers and employees, and then it extends into so many other titles and job descriptions and varieties of expertise before that raw agricultural commodity gets to its ultimate consumer and satisfies its purpose.
Visiting the exhibits and booths at the expo, I was reminded of the full range of vendors and partners and suppliers and value-adders out there, working every day with our farmers and ranchers on so many facets and functions of agriculture. Bankers and managers. Students and teachers. Scientists and engineers. Processors and entrepreneurs.
Even with all of this help, the modern farmer has to know a lot about a lot of things. They are planters, and waterers, and harvesters. They are investors and borrowers and employers. They are fence-fixers and on-the-spot inventors of tools. They are self-taught recyclers and reducers and reusers. Mathematicians and prognosticators of weather.
Put simply, they are wearers of hats – many hats. They do what the day requires.
And all of you who call “agriculture” – job, whether you work on a farm or not, are also consumers; that may be easy for folks to overlook, but the farmers and ranchers and everyone who works with them are all eaters and wearers and users of the crops and commodities that they produce, just like the rest of us. They appreciate a good meal – and a good deal – just as much as the next person.
There was a lot to take in at the World Ag Expo this week, from shiny tractors and futuristic innovations to feed, fertilizer and everything in between. But most of all, there were farmers and there were ranchers, and there were thousands of people who share the calling that is “agriculture.”
So this Valentine is for all of you. Every job you do and every title you hold contributes to the food we eat and the clothes we wear and the futures we build every day. And to the special occasions – the meals we eat with loved ones, and even the flowers we send on Valentine’s Day.
You remembered, right? Because a farmer grew those for you.
Happy Valentine’s Day.