Farm-City Week, the week of Thanksgiving, is a time set aside each year to reflect on the importance of agriculture. It is a time to recognize “Partners in Progress” and thank our farm-city teams who are involved in getting food from the farm to the table in an efficient manner. Did you also think about the fact that many products used in clothing, shelter, fuel and medical supplies also come from farms and ranches?
Harold Folk, chairman of the 2012 Newberry County Farm-City Committee, and Hugh E. Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, offer their remarks about farm-city activities, celebrations and the vital partnerships that have done so much to improve the quality of our lives.
Folk says Farm-City activities are grassroots in nature. Newberry County Farm-City Committee will join communities across the nation to recognize and celebrate Farm-City Week which always begins the Friday before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving (Nov. 16 – 22). This occasion applauds the partnership between farm and urban residents in providing the nation with a bounty of food, fiber, fuel and other products. Our mission is to strengthen the understanding of our farm-city connections that provides food, fiber, and shelter to our population.
This Farm-City Week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember the vital farm-city partnerships that have done so much to improve the quality of our lives. Rural and urban communities working together have made the most of our rich agricultural resources, and have made significant contributions to our health and well-being and to the strength of our nation’s economy. For this, we can give thanks.
The Newberry County Farm-City Agricultural Appreciation annual 2012 banquet is scheduled at the Central Methodist Church Henry Hall activity center in Newberry Tuesday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. As a nonprofit organization, we are dedicated to enhancing links between farm families and urban residents. The local organization is sponsored by city and county businesses, physicians, law enforcement, local farms, attorneys, and loyal individuals.
Hugh E. Weathers, Commissioner of Agriculture, adds his remarks and views to the interview, regarding Farm-City Week. The week of Thanksgiving is the time set aside each year to reflect on the importance of agriculture. One of the greatest challenges for agribusiness today is sharing our story to those who are far-removed from the farm—either those who no longer have a direct connection or those who have never had a connection. The 2012 Farm-City celebration focuses on “Agriculture: A Growing Story.”
Agriculture and forestry, together called agribusiness, is a growing story in South Carolina. It’s the state’s largest industry cluster contributing nearly 200,000 jobs in and a $34 billion economic impact each year. In fact, he states, agribusiness is the foundation for our state’s healthy economy. Our agribusiness partners and I believe that we can grow agribusiness to $50 billion by 2020.
The future of agribusiness depends on rural neighbors, farm and non-farm, living and, often working, side by side. Farming is a business. From the outside looking in, farming may appear to a romantic lifestyle, but to a farmer, it’s the family’s livelihood.
Farmers benefit from being good neighbors. They know not to spread manure on Fridays or just before holidays and they try to avoid moving machinery on roads during rush hour. At the same time, their non-farm neighbors understand that living next to a farmer’s home and business may require some understanding and compassion on their part.
We are all connected — farm and city. Some of us are directly involved in producing raw materials from the fields and forests. Others are indirectly involved providing the supplies and services (feed, fuel, fertilizer) for farmers and foresters. And, then there are others who are involved in the value-added areas of agribusiness-processing, packaging, transportation, and distribution. It takes everyone—from gate to plate–to get the job done. And if you think about it, just about everything in our lives — the things we need to survive and the things we need to thrive – depend on the interaction of rural and urban folks.
Farm families continue to be the backbone of our state and nation. They provide the raw materials for food, fiber, and fuel–and their values continue to define our traditional way of life. But, they can’t do it without the help and support of non-farm families.
I am grateful to everyone involved in the Farm-City effort for helping to tell the story of agriculture. Join me in celebrating Farm-City Week understanding that the link between agriculture, natural resources, sustainable development, and quality of life is part of our “Growing Story.”
Note: “The quickest way to bring America to her knees is to destroy her ability to produce food.”