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A dad asked his three-and-a-half-year-old where bread comes from. Without hesitation, she responds, “It grows in the bag.”

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An eight-year-old from California joined her extended family as they worked calves at the dairy farm. “That cow is getting her ears pierced,” she exclaimed.

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Helping to do chores at the cow/calf operation, a three-year-old donning his “farm boots” boldly noted the “daddy bulls” had all been fed, so it was time to feed the “mommy bulls.”

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Riding in the combine with his grandpa, a little boy asked where all of the “corn pods” were going and when they would start combining the “bean kernels”?

Why Those Kids Say the Darndest Farm Things

While kids on the farm and baby animals are just about the cutest things around, these true stories raise a red flag. The adult in each of these scenarios followed these cute remarks with a real-life farm fact. But what about the millions of youth, and adults, who have no one to provide that first-hand farm information?

The Paulsen team has been specializing in moving rural businesses forward for seven decades. And in that time, the number of Americans involved in production agriculture has dwindled to less than two percent from more than 40 percent.

In the span of three generations, diversity in agriculture has also changed. There was a time when every farm family raised chickens, hogs, corn, oats, soybeans, extensive gardens and milked cows. Moms baked their bread; kids helped churn butter; and everyone in the family got in on plucking and cleaning chickens.

National Ag Day is an opportunity for us to remember how many of our American neighbors may have these same comments about their food source. While most adults wouldn’t assume “bread grows in a bag,” it is likely they think it merely comes from the grocery store shelf.

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The number of Americans involved in production agriculture has dwindled to less than two percent from more than 40 percent.

We Can’t Go It Alone in the Ag Industry

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, the agriculture industry experienced a disconnect between farms and grocery stores. It opened the door for continued conversation and in the agricultural community, motivation.

Production agriculture has become increasingly productive. However, according to the American Farm Bureau, farmers and ranchers receive only eight cents out of every dollar spent on food (at home and dining out). The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution.

American agriculture must grow partnerships with the supply chain to tell the story of where bread, meat, milk and eggs come from. The marketing teams creating the packaging for the bread bag, meat wrapper, milk jug and egg carton hold the keys to what those cute kiddos we highlighted and millions of consumers young and old know about their food.

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Simple Opportunities Mean a Lot

If your corner of the agriculture industry is not connected to a major restaurant chain and you’re not Facebook friends with the marketing lead at a cereal manufacturer, you can still do your part.

It can be as simple as never passing up an opportunity to talk to kids about where their food comes from. By the way,

  • Bread comes from wheat grown in a field. The wheat is ground up and baked into bread.

  • Cows get ear tags to help tell them apart, to track their information and to keep them healthy. But yes, an ear tag is pretty much an earring for cows.

  • Mommies are called cows. Bulls are only daddies.

  • The tall yellow ones are ears of corn, and the short ones are bean pods.

Visit with your local Rotary group about your role in agriculture. Share your job experiences with a high school careers class. Bring your nieces, nephews, cousins and friends out to your friend’s farm (and share, share, share the photos and experiences on social media). Support a local producer or give them a great Google review.

This Ag Day, we can all enjoy the cute things kids say about farming, as long as we know those are our future consumers, and we have a responsibility to share the story of agriculture.

This article was originally published at agdayblog.blogspot.com.

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