President George Washington said it: “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.”
The Elk River USDA AG Service Center took part in the celebration of National Ag Day this week, hosting area farmers and residents curious about the profession with cookies and coffee, photo displays of farm programs in action and the opportunity to sit and talk with staff members about the current state of affairs now facing the American farmer.
Personnel from the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency all took turns serving as “host for a day” at the Elk River facility. On Wednesday, it was the FSA’s turn, with a variety of landowners and farm operators stopping in to discuss the coming growing season.
Scott Hayes, for example, operates a potato operation in Big Lake and Clear Lake. He stopped by to demonstrate a new mapping system he uses, that shows him the areas he has planted, the types of chemicals used and the final production in each of his fields. Robert Darsow and his son, Nicholas, of Big Lake, chatted with NRCS staffer Miranda Wagner about a number of issues, including concerns about pollutants entering the water table in Minnesota. The conversation was a lively one, especially when the senior Darsow asked that age-old question: “Why does a chicken coop have two doors?” (Because if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan!).
The USDA states that every current American farmer now feeds 144 people, as well as providing fiber for clothing and materials for building.
Agriculture remains the nation’s primary export as well, a vital support in the economy.