A Report From the Lassen County Cooperative Extension
by Bailey Hagata
Lassen Ag Report – February
Hi, I’m Bailey Hagata representing the Lassen County Farm Bureau, bringing you the February Ag Report.
Civilization began with agriculture. When our ancestors went from hunters and gatherers to growing their own foods, society was forever changed. What our ancestors understood was the importance of agriculture, for them, ignorance to this would risk malnutrition and starvation.
Todays society has forgotten the fundamental connection between agriculture and our daily lives. Surrounded by an apparent abundance of food that has come from new advances in technologies, we are blessed with the ability to go to the grocery store to buy a food on demand without thinking twice about what it took to produce that item. The cotton shirt on your back, the food in your refrigerator, or the wood that supports your roof were all readily available thanks to the ag industry.
Around the nation, college students are returning for their spring semester with the pressure to defend their major. In the last quarter of 2012 an online article was published across the web stating that Agriculture, Horticulture, and Animal Science were among the most “useless” degrees. Aside from someone writing this article the problem comes from the vast population who doesn’t know any better. Ag illiteracy is a growing problem.
With more and more agriculture land being used for urban development, today’s farmers produce twice as much using less land, water, energy, and fewer emissions than the generation before them. We not only feed our own country, but 33 percent of our crop acres are used for exports to feed the world. California by itself, is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food, cotton fiber and other agricultural commodities. California produces over 400 crops — everything from world-renowned wines to specialty almonds. For the past 50 years, the men and women who work in California’s fertile fields have made this state the nation’s No. 1 agricultural producer and exporter. If it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it was probably grown right here in California.
With a growing population and a demand to feed 9 billion people by year 2050, the agriculture industry needs talented, driven and passionate youth willing to make a commitment to agriculture. Many of these individuals will not have the production background I enjoyed growing up in. They must gain this knowledge and understand the depth of the industry by attending a university that offers an agricultural major.
While a declining number of farms and ranches and an increasing average age of farmers and ranchers can be seen as a negative, in reality this equals a lot of opportunity for a stable, viable and fulfilling career for the next generation of agriculturists. USDA Secretary of Agriculture recently said that the United States will need “100,000 new farmers over the next few years.” Agriculture education involves more than just learning the basics of seed production. It provides the opportunity for people to understand agriculture is not just farming; it’s a sustainable way of life.
As I head back into my next semester at Chico State, I am proud to be among the future generation who will work to improve the ag industry, that will continue to provide food and fiber for generations to come.
To learn more about California agriculture visit: www.cfbf.com or contact our local Lassen County Farm Bureau office at 530-257-7242