While Oct. 12 is officially National Farmers Day, we at Oregon Farm Bureau consider every day an opportunity to recognize farmers and ranchers for their invaluable contributions to society.
There are few other professions that all of us rely upon every single day of our lives.
We all need to eat, right?
Sometimes consumers need to be reminded that food doesn't magically appear on grocery store shelves. All of that fresh produce, meat, dairy products, eggs and other food started on a farm or ranch. It was grown, cared for and harvested by the less than 2% of Americans who are farmers and ranchers. This goes for other vital agricultural products, such as nursery stock, hay for livestock feed and grass seed for parks, homes and environmental projects, all of which are among the 220-plus agriculture products grown right here in Oregon.
The Labor Day wildfires showed the public another side of Oregon's agriculture community: an incredible generosity and willingness to help others in need.
As the wildfires raged over 1 million acres across the state, forcing people and animals to evacuate, rural Oregonians immediately stepped in and stepped up to help those who were impacted.
We saw Farm Bureau members helping save their rural communities alongside firefighters, transform fairgrounds into evacuation sites for families and livestock, fill ponds of water to replenish firefighting helicopters and collect and donate supplies for those in desperate need, along with countless other stories of humanity.
The wildfires ravaged rural communities the most, and rural Oregonians answered the call for help the most.
COVID-19 also posed an enormous challenge for ag producers in many ways, though farmers and ranchers are accustomed to uncertainty. Every year, most of them plant a crop or raise a herd without knowing how much they'll get for their product. Or if the weather will cooperate. Or if a pest or disease will threaten their plants or animals. Or what new rules, regulations and red tape will impact their ability to stay in business.
Unlike most of us, farmers and ranchers have kept working throughout the pandemic. These families are among the essential workers required to keep society functioning. Last spring, toilet paper was suddenly scarce, but the U.S. food supply remained strong and secure, thanks in large part to the farmers, ranchers and their employees who are #StillFarming and #StillRanching — no matter what happens.
From what we see every day at the Oregon Farm Bureau, the tenacity, dedication and grit of farmers and ranchers come from an unwavering love for their livelihoods and lifestyles in agriculture. No matter the amount of acreage worked, farming method used or number of animals raised, Oregon's farmers and ranchers share core values: a deep respect for the land, an incredible work ethic and an immense pride in their work.
On National Farmers Day we should acknowledge and thank these hard-working families for their contributions to society and our daily lives.
Anne Marie Moss is the communications director at the Oregon Farm Bureau.
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