sugar celebrates national agriculture day

National Agriculture Day is held on March 14, and once again, the Sugar Association is proud to support it by being an official Ag Day sponsor. It’s a day to focus on the role that this vital industry plays in everyone’s lives—not just farmers’. Created by the Agriculture Council of America, Ag Day celebrates the prolific contributions from the agriculture industry while bridging the distance between the food we eat and where it comes from. Every day, our farmers work to bring us an ingredient with many important uses in our food supply by planting, harvesting and caring for sugar beets and sugar cane as well as the land where they grow.

This year’s theme, “Food for Life,” is an appropriate one. On average, each American farmer provides food for more than 165 people, a large increase in comparison with the average of 25 people fed per farmer in the 1960s.1 With a rising global population, there’s also a growing need for food.

Agriculture is made up of families who are passionate about what they do. The sugar industry, for instance, wouldn’t be where it is today without these farming families. Many sugar beet and sugar cane farms have been passed down for several generations, making sugar growing an important family legacy, which we want to continue for generations to come.

Sugar beet and sugar cane are produced across the United States. Sugar beet is grown on farms in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Sugar cane requires more tropical climates and is grown in Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Sugar is also refined in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan and New York.

America’s agricultural story has long featured the sugar industry. The country’s first sugar beets were planted near Philadelphia in 1836,2 and sugar cane was introduced to the U.S. in 1751 in Louisiana.3 While people may not always realize it, sugar farming has been a part of our country since the beginning.

Today, America’s sugar producers support more than 142,000 jobs in 22 states,4 and 11,000 family farmers grow sugar on 2 million acres.5 Our industry includes not only the multigenerational farmers who plant, harvest and care for sugar beets and sugar cane but also the truck drivers who move the crops from the fields; the employees who work in the mills, processing plants and refineries that extract, purify and package sugar; and all the people who work to get sugar from the packaging facilities to your table.

Not a lot of consumers stop to think about agriculture and the people who work hard to provide us with so much. National Agriculture Day is one important way to celebrate and recognize all of the contributions of the agricultural sector.

References:

  1. Agriculture Council of America. Promote Ag Day. Available at: https://www.agday.org/promote. Accessed March 8, 2019.
  2. Austin, Harry. History and Development of the Beet Sugar Industry. National Press Building, Washington D.C. 1928.
  3. Deerr, Noël. The History of Sugar: Volume One. (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1949), 15.
  4. American Sugar Alliance. Where is Sugar Produced? Available at: https://sugaralliance.org/where-is-sugar-produced. Accessed March 8, 2019.
  5. American Sugar Alliance. Backing America’s Beet and Cane Farmers. Available at: https://sugaralliance.org/project/backing-americas-beet-cane-farmers. Accessed March 8, 2019.

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