For the week of June 20, 2016

This vacation, remember agriculture 

By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau

All across our country Americans are checking their automobiles, making sure their GPS works, studying road maps, printing off directions from MapQuest and adding another item to their “to do” lists in preparation for long-awaited summer vacations.

Anticipation will soar and expectations will rise as husband and wife teams take to the American highways and byways in search of rest, peace and tranquility. Children will ensure this dream remains only partially fulfilled with road questions like: “I’m hungry, I want a hamburger and fries.” “Mommy, Billy is teasing me.” “Are we there yet?” and “I don’t want to go on vacation, I want to go back home."

Regardless of such comments, mom and dad will remain true to their plans and push ahead. After all, the money spent for the family vacation usually represents cash left over after paying for the family’s food, clothing and other necessities.

Oftentimes money to pay for vacations goes on plastic and is paid for later with interest. Parents will think to themselves, “We worked hard for this time off. We deserve it and we’re going to enjoy it.”

Americans remain the luckiest, most pampered people in the world. Try to imagine what it would be like if we had to be self-sufficient.

What would happen to leisure time if others did not produce the many things families need?

Although we all work throughout the year, we should not forget those people who also work hard and help us free up time so we can vacation with loved ones. One such group is the Kansas farmer.

Farmers and ranchers help meet our food, fuel and fiber needs. These needs are met without worry of availability.

The next time you walk into your local supermarket remember milk comes from carefully cared for dairy cows on someone’s farm. Remember the butcher performs a service in cutting and packaging the hamburger, chops and steak you and your family eat. Don’t forget the Kansas farmer and rancher cares for and produces pork and beef. Styrofoam cartons only hold the eggs which are laid by hens on the farm.

No other nation of people on this planet enjoys the amount of free time we do. No other country can claim that so few people feed so many.

Today less than 2 percent of our nation’s population are farmers. They are capable of supplying the other 98 percent with most of the products we eat, wear and use to fuel our vehicles.

Remember as you plot your vacation course this summer, and as you motor through the state’s highways, to notice the fields of corn, soybeans, milo, alfalfa and recently harvested wheat. Take a look at the cattle, hogs and sheep grazing in the many pastures.

Don’t forget Kansas farmers and ranchers help fulfill our food, fuel and fiber needs. These professionals also care for the livestock and crops you see as you drive by. They do so with care and compassion.

 John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.

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