Rhonda McCurry: Sedgwick County farmers, ranchers proud of heritage, work

03/28/2014 12:00 AM

03/27/2014 5:32 PM

Every year the calendar marks the anniversary of a weeklong celebration of our nation’s food supply. This takes place when spring begins, during a time when shades of green peek through winter colors of brown and gray to signal new life on the farm.

This year National Agriculture Week is March 23-29. It recognizes the startling beauty of spring and the necessity of growing food for our dinner tables.

No matter their age, address or hat size – all people need to eat. Providing that substance is what keeps American farmers in business.

No group is more proud to provide bountiful, high-quality and safe food than Sedgwick County farmers and ranchers. There are 10,539 members of Sedgwick County Farm Bureau. Of that, 899 are voting members, meaning they own or have a vested interest in local land and livestock.

Of Sedgwick County’s 645,700 acres, about 80 percent is zoned for agricultural use. This land is home to fields of wheat, soybeans, milo, corn, hay and pasture. It provides a fenced-in, safe place for animals to graze, and cozy, clean barns to produce a litter of pigs or flock of chickens. Those more than 500,000 acres are cared for responsibly and superbly by owners who likely have done so for multiple generations.

Sedgwick County farmers and ranchers are proud to produce more food than ever to help feed a growing population. We diligently practice conservation of water and soil, because it’s part of being good producers. Efficient production using precision technology means a better outcome for both our business and our way of life.

We also know the value of raising our families on the farm. There is a unique work ethic that comes from growing up in the hay field, tilling the soil, and delivering calves and pigs. Our young people rarely miss the beauty of a sunrise after cows have been milked, and they can appreciate the stillness of a summer night when combines roll to a stop.

The take-home message during National Agriculture Week is that your farmers and ranchers are proud of our heritage and our meaningful work. As you cook this week or buy products from the grocery store, please think of a farmer and rancher, and know we are thinking of you as we work to keep our heritage alive and growing.

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