Naked and hungry: That’s where we’d be without ag |

Naked and hungry: That’s where we’d be without ag

A fold of Highland cattle gather around fresh hay in a field off of Moffat County Road 183.
Eleanor C. Hasenbeck/staff

CRAIG — Agriculture provides most everything humans eat, use and wear on a daily basis, and March 18 is National Ag Week — a time to recognize and celebrate the importance of agriculture.

“Where would you be without agriculture?” asks the Community Agriculture Alliance, a local, nonprofit organization serving the Yampa Valley. Its answer: “Naked and hungry.”

Following are 12 facts highlighting the importance of agriculture.

• The average age of a U.S. farmer has been rising, from 52 in 1992 to 58 in 2012.

• More than 8,600 farmers markets are now in operation across the United States.

• Colorado has the ninth-largest cattle inventory in the U.S., at 2.9 million head. Moffat County, alone, is ranked 12th largest.

• Moffat County has the 13th-largest sheep inventory in the United States, more than 50,000.

• There has been a 300-percent increase in U.S. organic operations since 2002. It is a domestic industry worth $39 billion.

• Colorado was the seventh-largest wheat-producing state in 2016.

• The average dressed weight of an American cow is 829 pounds.

• Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has helped 1.2 million rural Americans buy, refinance or repair their homes.

• As of Jan. 1, 2017, there were 155,000 milk cows and heifers in Colorado

• Americans eat more than 35 pounds of cheese per person annually

• In 2017, the number of hogs available for market began to rise, causing the consumer price to drop.

• More than 7,000 farmers and markets now participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which offers nutritional assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families, nine times the number who participated in 2008.

Sources: The 2012 US Agricultural Census and USA Today Special Edition U.S. Department of Agriculture 2017.