The Ottumwa Courier

March 13, 2013

Support for America’s No. 1 export needed


OTTUMWA — Where does your food come from?

If you’re like many Americans, the answer is the grocery store. And frankly, that disturbs me. The grocery store isn’t where food comes from — it’s just where it’s distributed. In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table.

Just a few generations ago, most people were a part of and/or had friends or relatives involved with agriculture. Today, that’s no longer the case. I’m writing because agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of life ... food, fiber, clothing and shelter.

American farmers are working harder than ever, and it shows. Today, each American farmer feeds more than 144 people, and the need for food produced in the United States is dramatic. Agriculture is the nation’s No. 1 export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy.

And it’s not just the farmer who makes our food possible. Each segment of the agriculture industry — all the way to the grocery store — is a vital link in a chain that brings food to every citizen and millions of people abroad. Frankly, it’s easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we’re unbelievably fortunate, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have an obligation to recognize how it’s made possible.

Experience Iowa agriculture through efforts like the Iowa Food & Family Project. Find them on Facebook or visit for more information.

Pat Swanson

Iowa Soybean Association

Farm & Food Ambassador