Agricultural Talking Points

A. World Population Growth Is Creating Needs For Food And Fiber

  • World population is at 6.5 billion today, and is expected to reach 8.04 billion by the year 2025.
  • There will be millions of new mouths to feed, many of whom rely on United States food production to meet this need.

B. The United States Is Best Positioned To Meet This Growing Need

  • Agriculture is America's #1 export.
  • About 17% of raw U.S. agriculture products are exported yearly.
  • The United States is out front in technological advances.
  • U.S. farmers and ranchers produce more than 200 raw commodities yearly for domestic and export markets.
  • Today, one farmer produces enough food to feed about 144 people each day.
  • Agriculture generates 20% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
  • One-fourth of the world's beef and nearly one-fifth of the world's grain, milk and eggs are produced in the U.S.
  • The United States exports $49.1 billion in agriculture products and imports $37.5 billion in farm products, equaling a positive net trade balance of $11.6 billion.
  • One in three U.S. farm acres is planted for export, and 25 percent of gross farm income comes directly from exports.
  • Through research and changes in production practices, today's food producers are providing Americans with the widest variety of foods ever.
  • Research and advancements in biotechnology are now in the marketplace with tastier fruits and vegetables that stay fresh longer and are not damaged by insects.
  • Consumers derive health benefits from changes in farm production including less fat in meat and longer lasting fresh fruits and vegetables. As well, tofu, a soybean product, has been shown to reduce the risk of some cancer and heart disease.
  • For every hour, the U.S. exports $6 million worth of agricultural products.

C. Technology Leads The Way In Today's Agricultural Production

  • Precision farming boosts crop yields and reduces waste by using satellite maps and computers to match seed, fertilizer and crop protection applications to local soil conditions.
  • Sophisticated Global Positioning Systems can be specifically designed for spraying herbicides and pesticides. A weed detector equipped with infrared light identifies specific plants by the different rates of light they reflect and then sends a signal to a pump to spray a preset amount of herbicide onto the weed.
  • Biogenetics is another technology that is being utilized in crop production. A particular trait is implanted directly into the seed to protect the seed against certain pests.
  • Artificial insemination of livestock is producing more and better meat supplies.
  • Farmers are utilizing 4-wheel drive tractors with up to 300 horsepower requiring fewer passes across fields – saving energy and time.
  • Huge combines are speeding the time it takes to harvest crops.
  • With modern methods, one acre of land in the U.S. (about the size of a football field) can produce: 42,000 lbs. of strawberries, 11,000 heads of lettuce, 25,400 lbs. of potatoes, 8,900 lbs. of sweet corn, or 640 lbs. of cotton lint.

D. America is Producing Not Only More Food, but Higher Quality and Lower Cost

  • Two out of every three bushels of corn in the world originate in the United States.
  • In 2001, 45% of the world's soybeans were grown in the United States.
  • American consumers spend the lowest percentage of their annual income on food – just 10 percent.
  • Nearly 19 billion pounds of pork – the most widely eaten meat – were processed in 2001.

 

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