National Farm/City Week a time to give nod to farmers

Margaret Brackett - Contributing Columnist

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 efficiency 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?

Farm/City activities are grassroots in nature. Newberry County Farm/City will join communities across the nation to recognize and celebrate National Farm/City Week which always begins the Friday before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving (Nov. 20-26.)

The 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 connection 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 agriculture 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.

Hugh E. Weathers, commissioner of agriculture, adds his remarks and views regarding National Farm/City Week: “I am thankful for farmers because of their passion and dedication to the agricultural industry. Farming is a business that relies heavily on factors out of farmers’ control, such as weather and commodity prices, and their perseverance of commitment to their crops, livestock, and community is commendable. Working long and hard hours to provide food, feed, and fiber for the world takes a special kind of person, and I am thankful we have so many of them here in South Carolina.”

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 2016 Farm/City celebration focuses on “Agriculture: A Growing Story.”

Agriculture and forestry, together called agribusiness, is a growing story in South Carolina. It is the state’s largest industry cluster contributing nearly 200,000 jobs and a $34 billion economic impact each year. In fact, 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 a farmer, it is 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 the 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.

Everyone involved in the Farm-City effort should be grateful in their help to tell the story of agriculture. We should join together 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.”

Margaret Brackett

Contributing Columnist

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.