This message is from the Agriculture Update Committee:
A number of Leagues have requested information to help them develop forward momentum with the Agriculture Update. The update is complex and involves understanding issues that impact our food supply: 1) the technologies used in agriculture, 2) the interactions of farmers, suppliers, processors and consumers and 3) the role of government in regulating and financially supporting the food industry, and 4) how natural processes (often related to climate and weather) effect practices and decision-making. Many of these issues vary from state to state. It is the committee’s recommendation that Leaguers should develop a general understanding of agriculture within their own state, so they can then view the system as it relates throughout the county and the global market.
Good sources of information include the local/state farm bureaus, state departments of agriculture, university extension services and farm associations. If possible, consider farm visits to different types of farms such as orchards, commodity crop, conventional and organic farms. Visit the websites of your state’s universities to see what agricultural topics they are researching.
Some questions that you may want to consider include:
How much of your state’s GDP is agriculture related?
How much does food processing add to state GDP?
What crops are grown in your state?
Is that changing due to climate or other influences?
How much of your agriculture is irrigated?
Has that changed over the past 10-15 years? Why?
Has it placed any additional stresses on your water system? How so?
How much acreage is involved in farming?
What is the average farm size?
What are the local farm issues?
What are some of your state farming success stories?
Are these unique? How so?
What are the federal and state funding sources available to farmers?
Have changes to funding resources assisted or hindered farmers? How so?
If you cannot visit farms, then take advantage of the many videos about farming and farming issues found on the internet. Make sure to not limit your viewing to any specific type of farm or to any specific viewpoint on a farm issue. Because farm practices differ greatly by geographic regions, include some viewing from other parts of the country. Furthermore, over the next week or so the Ag Update Committee will be suggesting a great variety of videos for members to watch.