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Agriculture the foundation of America - through good times and bad

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Agriculture is the backbone of a healthy and prosperous nation that’s made possible by the hard work of America’s farms and farm families.

There's no doubt about it. American agriculture is the foundation of our country. It’s the backbone of a healthy and prosperous nation that’s made possible by the hard work of America’s farms and farm families.

Despite low commodity prices, lingering trade wars, a fickle Mother Nature and more, our country's farmers manage to rise to the occasion time and again, committed to producing the best possible products for their local communities, state, nation and the world.

Agricultural organizations and stakeholders would like to commend and celebrate these hardworking folks for their plentiful contributions during National Agriculture Week. Thanks to American agriculture—Food Brings Everyone to the Table!

“Our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers in America are feeding and clothing the world. Now more than ever it’s important that the American people not forget that. Our farmers are resilient, and during these uncertain times they are still working, day in and day out, to produce what’s needed for our growing population.

"During National Ag Week, I challenge the American public to keep our farmers, ranchers and producers on their minds – for all their work to provide us a safe, healthy and abundant food supply. We owe them a debt of gratitude.” Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

“Although facing serious challenges posed by COVID-19, agriculture is big business in Wisconsin, where about one in nine people are working in an industry that contributes nearly $105 billion to the state’s economy. Wisconsin is renowned for providing savory products and quality and safe food for all tastes and ages, and our farmers and food processors take great pride in moving quality food from the farmer’s gates to the consumer’s plates.

Our farmers are a hardy and resilient group. Whether facing low prices, changing markets, relentless weather events or even the uncertain repercussions of a global pandemic, they wake each day to focus on a passion that drives them.

"Our farmers are a hardy and resilient group. Whether facing low prices, changing markets, relentless weather events or even the uncertain repercussions of a global pandemic, they wake each day to focus on a passion that drives them. While there are still difficult days and hard decisions ahead, there is also hope for the future. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and its dedicated employees are eager to forward our mission of growing the economy by promoting quality food, healthy plants and animals, sound use of land and water resources, and a fair marketplace.” Randy Romanski, DATCP Interim Secretary

"This has been an unsettling time for many, but the silver lining in all of this could be that it has really made us all start thinking much more about food security in respect to origins and accessibility. In Wisconsin, we’re lucky to have such a vibrant network of family farmers who are stepping up to provide fresh produce, meats, honey, maple syrup and more. Our current situation offers a reminder of how important those independent family farms are in an increasingly consolidated national food system." Danielle Endvick, Wisconsin Farmers Union Communications Director

"The agribusiness industries of Wisconsin are proud to work hand-in-hand with Wisconsin farmers to help make the U.S. food supply the most abundant and safe in the world. These past five-plus years have been devastating on producers and agricultural product and service providers. And now, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic adds more concern for the demand and prices for food.

"However, while surrounded by all this concern and uncertainty, there is one thing we do know for sure: the agricultural industry will continue to provide for the needs of people all across the world. With a work ethic above all else, the knowledge to find answers under all circumstances, and the resiliency to outlast all obstacles, we will prevail." Tom Bressner, executive director of the Wisconsin Agri-BusinessAssociation 

Despite everything we are dealing with currently...farmers across the country are still putting in the hard work for success.

Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” These words from George Washington still hold true today. Despite everything we are dealing with currently (e.g. – challenging weather, trade wars, low commodity prices and now a global pandemic), farmers across the country are still putting in the hard work for success. We are supplying food and energy for the world, while using less of the earth’s resources. We cannot and will not stop. We are agriculture, we are strong and we will keep fighting on the front-lines to help America and the world rebound from anything that gets thrown at us." Doug Rebout, presidents of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association 

"Our resilient agricultural system has shown once again to be the backbone of our country. The importance of keeping our food systems in operation is critical during normal times. The potential disruptions that could result from the COVID-19 outbreak has amplified the efforts to provide safe, nutritious and abundant food supplies.

"I know our farmers are up to the challenge as long as they can get the supplies and labor needed to produce and get their products to market. Wisconsin Farm Bureau is working with leaders at the local, state and national levels identifying potential bottlenecks and doing our best to ensure our farmers have the resources they need.

"It has never been more important to work together and support one another. We give special thanks to our healthcare providers and all other essential workers keeping things as safe and normal as possible." Joe Bragger president of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation  

"Wisconsin’s cattlemen and women have grit. The need for agriculture—for food—never stops, and our country will always rely on farmers and the commodities our livestock and crops provide. Farmers recognize this responsibility and persevere when others fear. Now as COVID-19 sweeps across the country, farmers go to work every day; feeding and caring for their cattle and in turn, satisfying high demand for beef. As our country faces another time of uncertainty, take comfort in the persistence of your American farmers. Your cattle producers have never—and will never—neglect their responsibility and genuine dedication to ensuring wholesome, quality beef is always available to consumers." Tammy Vaassen, executive director Wisconsin Beef Council 

We’re in a time of uncertainty during this unprecedented situation but one thing is for certain: the agriculture industry and the FFA Organization are home to the most ambitious, relentless, and resilient people out there. If there’s anybody that can get through this, it’s us.

"We’re in a time of uncertainty during this unprecedented situation but one thing is for certain: the agriculture industry and the FFA Organization are home to the most ambitious, relentless, and resilient people out there. If there’s anybody that can get through this, it’s us.

"The last line in the 1st paragraph of the FFA Creed reminds us that progress comes from the “struggle of former years.” The coronavirus pandemic and its consequences may be a struggle that tests our society to its core, but with the proper attitude, perseverance, and grit, we will take the challenge head on, we will Rise Up and overcome it, and our generation and generations to come will enjoy the progress from today’s struggle well into the future. Wisconsin FFA believes in the future of agriculture and that won’t be changing anytime soon!" Collin Weltzien, 2019-2020 State President, Wisconsin Association of FFA 

"The first thing on an Ag teachers' mind is the success of the students in their program.  Whether it is the student that is earning a state or national degree or the 7th grade FFA member going to his or her first conference and is truly scared that they won’t make any friends on their first overnight FFA trip. We are rewarded by seeing the great things that our students accomplish and hearing about all the new friends they have after only one day.

"It was for that reason that I was truly saddened when the Career Development Events for FFA scheduled for March and April were not held. There are students that have been working on these areas of interest since before they were even in high school.  As I sent the communication that we would not be holding the state competition at the end of April I felt a deep pit in my stomach and wondered what the future looked like.

"I did not have to wait long. In less than 10 minutes I had Ag Education professionals offering ways that we could make this opportunity happen. No decisions have been made, but this has shown me in real time just how dedicated and caring the Ag teachers in Wisconsin truly are. We want what is best for the young people in agriculture and they want to have a career in the greatest industry in the world.

"Agriculture is truly a resilient industry filled with dedicated and passionate people. We all use our tenacity, intelligence and passion to find ways to overcome the challenges that life gives us all too frequently. The challenge of a pandemic will be no different. We go into it not knowing what will happen and we will come out of it stronger and more prepared for the future." Kris Beaver, president of the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators

"Wisconsin farmers and processors are resilient, constantly moving and shifting with the changing world. Though our world is a bit more uncertain now, I am confident in the ability of our state’s agriculturists to remain dedicated to their work. As I have traveled throughout the state, I have discovered that a common passion unites those working in our industry – a commitment to feed, fuel, and clothe our communities. Each and every day, but now more than ever, I am proud to represent Wisconsin agriculture. Happy National Agriculture Week!" Abigail Martin 72nd Alice in Dairyland

“Now, more than ever, our society is recognizing the essential businesses and industries necessary to sustain our nation’s food supply. The agriculture industry and our dairy farmers are at the forefront providing wholesome, fresh, nutritious foods. I thank God for our dairy farmers every day. No matter how difficult the weather, economy or whatever unforeseen situation they encounter, we can always count on them to provide the world with nutritious and great tasting products, while taking care of their animals and the environment – in ways most cannot fathom or understand until they visit a farm and see it in person. At Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, we are proud to support our farmers and the amazing products they create for the world,” Chad Vincent, CEO Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

It goes without saying, that our farmers are the true caretakers of our animals, water and land.

"Wisconsin’s pig farmers continue to be committed to provide a healthy and nutritious source of protein. As pig farmers, they strive to uphold the We Care principles which include producing safe food, protecting and promoting animal well-being, ensuring practices that protect public health, providing a safe working environment, safeguarding our natural resources and contributing to a better quality of life in their communities. It goes without saying, that our farmers are the true caretakers of our animals, water and land." Keri Retallick, EVP, Wisconsin Pork Association

"From all of us here at Compeer Financial, we want to say Happy National Agriculture Week. We are proud to work with farmers of all sizes and types across Wisconsin and count ourselves lucky to do so every day. Agriculture has always been an essential industry. You are the true champions of rural America and keep our communities strong. It is an honor to work alongside you as you continue to provide safe and affordable food to the Midwest and beyond." Rod Hebrink, president and CEO of Compeer Financial

"The last few weeks have brought a number of challenging changes to our everyday lives. But one thing has remained stable – the food supply chain in the U.S. continues to be safe and reliable. Most people don’t give a lot of thought to how food makes it to our tables. But each of us should understand the impact of the 2 percent of the U.S. population that grows the food that feeds us all.

"Ag Day is about commemorating the contributions of agriculture in our everyday lives. Through FFA, members learn to steward the land and the resources we all rely on for healthy, reliable food sources." John Hromyak, executive director, Wisconsin FFA Foundation

“During National Ag Week, and in communities across the country, our national emergency has made all of us more aware than ever of how important the people who produce, distribute, cook, and sell our food are to the health and well-being of all Americans. We on the House Agriculture Committee have always been proud to stand up for agriculture and food in Washington, but today that role takes on even more meaning as we honor and thank the farmers and ranchers that anchor that system.” Collin C. Peterson, chairman House Agriculture Committee

farmers are conditioned for change. They adjust, they innovate, they persevere. At the end of the day, they can celebrate the fact that what they do sustains life.

"Farming often comes with wild swings, from fluctuating commodity prices to extreme weather conditions. So, farmers are conditioned for change. They adjust, they innovate, they persevere. At the end of the day, they can celebrate the fact that what they do sustains life. And through the stewardship of our natural resources, they’re also helping to sustain our planet. Many dairy farmers have faced a difficult stretch in recent years. Some have even had to leave the business. Today, of course, so many people around the world are feeling the negative effects of the public health emergency. Farmers, knowing the all-important role they play, are as driven as ever to produce safe and wholesome food." Tom Crave, president Dairy Business Association and Brody Stapel, president Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative