Thanks, farmers!

What am I thankful for?  Well, after writing a lot about Venezuela and the Central American caravan, what comes to mind is food.

Food is not a given, no tyrant can coerce the existence of food, and the reality of socialism ensures that many people do not have any.  In Venezuela, the situation is dire.  In Cuba, people eat ice to stave off hunger.  In China, a reporter I know taunted an inquisitive Chinese communist guard with a reply that his trip to Taiwan was all about its mountains and mountains of food.  Even in Central America's drought-plagued highlands, state control ensures that there is hunger.

Food is a sort of a prima facie evidence that socialism isn't there.  It's a kind of anti-socialism in material form.  In America, there is food – so much food that we export food.  Food production is still skyrocketing.  And it's not expensive, either.  This is the pride and joy of America, and one of the big things we can be thankful for as we celebrate our feasting holiday.

Food, of course, is about America's farmers, who not only work hard to grow and produce food – they put so much attention to it that glorious technology, brought on by America's free markets, has enabled the creation of more food than all our people can possibly eat.  One of America's greatest heroes is agricultural productivity expert Norman Borlaug, whose Green Revolution fed the entire world.  A huge part of the planet is alive because Norman Borlaug lived.

Here's what Wikipedia says:

Agriculture is a major industry in the United States, which is a net exporter of food.[1] As of the 2007 census of agriculture, there were 2.2 million farms, covering an area of 922 million acres (3,730,000 km2), an average of 418 acres (169 hectares) per farm.[2] Although agricultural activity occurs in every state in the union, it is particularly concentrated in the Great Plains, a vast expanse of flat, arable land in the center of the nation in the region around the Great Lakes known as the Corn Belt.[3]

The U.S. was a leader in seed improvement i.e. hybridization and in expanding uses for crops from the work of George Washington Carver to the development of bioplastics and biofuels. The mechanization of farming and intensive farming have been major themes in U.S. history, including John Deere's steel plow, Cyrus McCormick's mechanical reaper, Eli Whitney's cotton gin to the widespread success of the Fordson tractor and the combine harvesters first made from them. Modern agriculture in the U.S. ranges from the common hobby farms, small-scale producers to large commercial farming covering thousands of acres of cropland or rangeland.

Take a look again at those corn statistics in this chart here.


Corn grown in Free Soil, Michigan.  Photo by Monica Showalter.

And corn is just one crop we produce – we produce just about everything, even coffee, the glorious Kona coffee of Hawaii, which is the best in the world.  Among the few things we do not, such as the awesome tropical fruits of Southeast Asia, we have free trade pacts, along with refrigerated shipping, all part of our fabulous system of food production.  You want durian?  Jackfruit?  Soursop?  Dragonfruit?  I can get some for you at our local Vietnamese market, less than a mile away from me.  Here's another aspect: our government is pretty good.  The E. coli outbreak on the nation's romaine lettuce crop is not a nice thing, but notice how swiftly the authorities moved in, getting the suspect crops off the shelves and getting word out to consumers, all to protect them from being sick.  It's a storm that will pass, and we will soon get the romaine back.  Over in England, the lefties at the Guardian were aghast at U.K. perceptions of high U.S. food production standards.  The locals know something.

Here's a cool chart from 2016.  The numbers are simply amazing:

California produces the most food (by value) in the United States followed by Iowa and Nebraska. 

Twelve (12) states generate over $10 billion in agricultural cash reciepts:  California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio & South Dakota.

California accounts for 11% of ag cash receipts in the United States.

United States

$395,068,677,000

 

Rank

 Commodity

Cash Receipts

Percent

1

California

$44,738,132,000

11.30%

2

Iowa

$31,985,370,000

8.10%

3

Nebraska

$24,465,882,000

6.20%

4

Texas

$22,726,067,000

5.80%

5

Minnesota

$20,580,696,000

5.20%

6

Illinois

$19,649,939,000

5.00%

7

Kansas

$16,223,254,000

4.10%

8

Wisconsin

$12,110,055,000

3.10%

9

Indiana

$12,052,964,000

3.10%

10

North Carolina

$11,706,602,000

3.00%

11

Ohio

$10,066,756,000

2.50%

12

South Dakota

$10,013,470,000

2.50%

13

Missouri

$9,940,400,000

2.50%

14

Georgia

$9,779,096,000

2.50%

15

Arkansas

$9,421,594,000

2.40%

16

Washington

$9,293,914,000

2.40%

17

North Dakota

$8,684,221,000

2.20%

18

Michigan

$8,293,622,000

2.10%

19

Florida

$8,252,525,000

2.10%

20

Colorado

$7,638,232,000

1.90%

21

Idaho

$7,586,979,000

1.90%

22

Oklahoma

$7,038,174,000

1.80%

23

Pennsylvania

$6,868,357,000

1.70%

24

Mississippi

$6,235,891,000

1.60%

25

Alabama

$5,349,114,000

1.40%

(The whole thing can be seen here.)

Some closing thoughts from Borlaug and an appreciative congressman:

Nobel Prize Winner Norman Borlaug once observed that countries that can feed themselves have many problems and that countries that can't feed themselves only have one problem.  Bill Flores is the U.S Representative for Texas' 17th congressional district.

"Food Security is National Security.  Healthy economies are National Security.  You can't have a healthy economy if you've got hungry families.  And again that's another essential element about why ag producers in this country are so important and that's why it's so important to get ag policy right in this country and all the things that help ag policy.  If you think about ag policy at large, that covers tax policy.  It covers regulatory policy.  It covers trade policy.  It covers labor policy and immigration."

Flores is quick to praise the productivity of U.S. farmers.

"Our farmers grow enough food not only for those of us here in the United States to be well fed and to be productive citizens and healthy families.  We grow enough for other economies around the world and one of the things that we do with some of the production we have from agriculture is to use that for foreign aid."

Reason enough to give thanks.

What am I thankful for?  Well, after writing a lot about Venezuela and the Central American caravan, what comes to mind is food.

Food is not a given, no tyrant can coerce the existence of food, and the reality of socialism ensures that many people do not have any.  In Venezuela, the situation is dire.  In Cuba, people eat ice to stave off hunger.  In China, a reporter I know taunted an inquisitive Chinese communist guard with a reply that his trip to Taiwan was all about its mountains and mountains of food.  Even in Central America's drought-plagued highlands, state control ensures that there is hunger.

Food is a sort of a prima facie evidence that socialism isn't there.  It's a kind of anti-socialism in material form.  In America, there is food – so much food that we export food.  Food production is still skyrocketing.  And it's not expensive, either.  This is the pride and joy of America, and one of the big things we can be thankful for as we celebrate our feasting holiday.

Food, of course, is about America's farmers, who not only work hard to grow and produce food – they put so much attention to it that glorious technology, brought on by America's free markets, has enabled the creation of more food than all our people can possibly eat.  One of America's greatest heroes is agricultural productivity expert Norman Borlaug, whose Green Revolution fed the entire world.  A huge part of the planet is alive because Norman Borlaug lived.

Here's what Wikipedia says:

Agriculture is a major industry in the United States, which is a net exporter of food.[1] As of the 2007 census of agriculture, there were 2.2 million farms, covering an area of 922 million acres (3,730,000 km2), an average of 418 acres (169 hectares) per farm.[2] Although agricultural activity occurs in every state in the union, it is particularly concentrated in the Great Plains, a vast expanse of flat, arable land in the center of the nation in the region around the Great Lakes known as the Corn Belt.[3]

The U.S. was a leader in seed improvement i.e. hybridization and in expanding uses for crops from the work of George Washington Carver to the development of bioplastics and biofuels. The mechanization of farming and intensive farming have been major themes in U.S. history, including John Deere's steel plow, Cyrus McCormick's mechanical reaper, Eli Whitney's cotton gin to the widespread success of the Fordson tractor and the combine harvesters first made from them. Modern agriculture in the U.S. ranges from the common hobby farms, small-scale producers to large commercial farming covering thousands of acres of cropland or rangeland.

Take a look again at those corn statistics in this chart here.


Corn grown in Free Soil, Michigan.  Photo by Monica Showalter.

And corn is just one crop we produce – we produce just about everything, even coffee, the glorious Kona coffee of Hawaii, which is the best in the world.  Among the few things we do not, such as the awesome tropical fruits of Southeast Asia, we have free trade pacts, along with refrigerated shipping, all part of our fabulous system of food production.  You want durian?  Jackfruit?  Soursop?  Dragonfruit?  I can get some for you at our local Vietnamese market, less than a mile away from me.  Here's another aspect: our government is pretty good.  The E. coli outbreak on the nation's romaine lettuce crop is not a nice thing, but notice how swiftly the authorities moved in, getting the suspect crops off the shelves and getting word out to consumers, all to protect them from being sick.  It's a storm that will pass, and we will soon get the romaine back.  Over in England, the lefties at the Guardian were aghast at U.K. perceptions of high U.S. food production standards.  The locals know something.

Here's a cool chart from 2016.  The numbers are simply amazing:

California produces the most food (by value) in the United States followed by Iowa and Nebraska. 

Twelve (12) states generate over $10 billion in agricultural cash reciepts:  California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio & South Dakota.

California accounts for 11% of ag cash receipts in the United States.

United States

$395,068,677,000

 

Rank

 Commodity

Cash Receipts

Percent

1

California

$44,738,132,000

11.30%

2

Iowa

$31,985,370,000

8.10%

3

Nebraska

$24,465,882,000

6.20%

4

Texas

$22,726,067,000

5.80%

5

Minnesota

$20,580,696,000

5.20%

6

Illinois

$19,649,939,000

5.00%

7

Kansas

$16,223,254,000

4.10%

8

Wisconsin

$12,110,055,000

3.10%

9

Indiana

$12,052,964,000

3.10%

10

North Carolina

$11,706,602,000

3.00%

11

Ohio

$10,066,756,000

2.50%

12

South Dakota

$10,013,470,000

2.50%

13

Missouri

$9,940,400,000

2.50%

14

Georgia

$9,779,096,000

2.50%

15

Arkansas

$9,421,594,000

2.40%

16

Washington

$9,293,914,000

2.40%

17

North Dakota

$8,684,221,000

2.20%

18

Michigan

$8,293,622,000

2.10%

19

Florida

$8,252,525,000

2.10%

20

Colorado

$7,638,232,000

1.90%

21

Idaho

$7,586,979,000

1.90%

22

Oklahoma

$7,038,174,000

1.80%

23

Pennsylvania

$6,868,357,000

1.70%

24

Mississippi

$6,235,891,000

1.60%

25

Alabama

$5,349,114,000

1.40%

(The whole thing can be seen here.)

Some closing thoughts from Borlaug and an appreciative congressman:

Nobel Prize Winner Norman Borlaug once observed that countries that can feed themselves have many problems and that countries that can't feed themselves only have one problem.  Bill Flores is the U.S Representative for Texas' 17th congressional district.

"Food Security is National Security.  Healthy economies are National Security.  You can't have a healthy economy if you've got hungry families.  And again that's another essential element about why ag producers in this country are so important and that's why it's so important to get ag policy right in this country and all the things that help ag policy.  If you think about ag policy at large, that covers tax policy.  It covers regulatory policy.  It covers trade policy.  It covers labor policy and immigration."

Flores is quick to praise the productivity of U.S. farmers.

"Our farmers grow enough food not only for those of us here in the United States to be well fed and to be productive citizens and healthy families.  We grow enough for other economies around the world and one of the things that we do with some of the production we have from agriculture is to use that for foreign aid."

Reason enough to give thanks.