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Being Thankful for American Agriculture

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Being Thankful for American Agriculture

 

 

John Block
John Block

While all of us have much we are thankful for at Thanksgiving, for one farmer, the productivity  of our industry is top of his list.  Jack Block was an Illinois pork producer before becoming Secretary of Agriculture for President Reagan. Since then, he has been a lobbyist in Washington working on behalf of agriculture. He sees the productivity and innovation of American agriculture as something to be thankful for, “In Africa, the families use more than half of their income just for food – whereas, an American family spends less than 10%.  This year’s Thanksgiving dinner costs less than $5.00 per person – 24¢ less than last year.  I’m looking at a Thanksgiving dinner chart going back 25 years.  Inflation adjusted, the dinner cost is less than it was in 1986 – thank you, American agriculture.”

 

Block says the key to agriculture’s productivity is innovation and technology, “When I was 10 years old, one farmer produced enough food to feed 15 people.  In 1964, one farmer was feeding 26 people, and, today, one farmer supplies food for 155 people.  That is a 10-fold increase.  And, we do it with less crop acres.”

 

Block is quick to point out that we have problems here, hungry people and farmers who are losing money growing our food, but agriculture is still strong and remains a mainstay of the U.S. economy, “Farmers don’t like low prices.  Some have had to deal with drought and floods.  Every family is forced to manage some problems.  But, look around the world.  As we sit down at Thanksgiving dinner, we should thank God for our many blessings.”