How hungry are you? Across America this week, plates will be filled with food as families gather 'round the table to give thanks. And it's thanks to our state's nearly 30,000 farm and ranch families that we can enjoy such a safe, abundant and affordable supply of food.
Whether you live on a farm or far from one, we all should be thankful for our full plates and full stomachs.
MORE MOUTHS TO FEED
As global demand grows along with world population, America’s farmers have risen to the challenge. Back in 1960, the average farmer produced enough to feed 26 people. A decade ago, a farmer fed 155 people a year. Today, each U.S. farm can feed 166 people annually!
To match population forecasts, the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is now produced.
To achieve that, it will take a number of factors, such as advanced technology and scientific breakthroughs that allow seeds to create larger, healthier crops and equipment to plant and harvest more efficiently and effectively.
CAREER FIELDS OFF THE FARM
Believe it or not, tomorrow's agriculture needs far more than our farmers and ranchers to meet this lofty goal. Young people can explore careers in precision agriculture right here in South Dakota with the Raven Precision Agriculture Center on the Brookings campus of South Dakota State University, which offers the country's first degree program in this exciting — and necessary — field!
Data scientists, biologists, software developers and other technical careers are in high demand as the agricultural industry goes beyond the farm into small towns, large cities and even overseas with global demand for our exports.
FOR THE BIRDS
South Dakota raises about 4.5 million turkeys every year. And each Thanksgiving, Americans eat 46 million birds!