Vilsack Reflects on Improvements in Agriculture

At the 2016 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention Tom Vilsack address his last eight years as Secretary of Agriculture.


Food Banks: Making a Difference in Your Community

Every day there are individuals who are going hungry. In fact, 1 in 6 Utahans struggle with hunger. So how can we make a difference in our communities? By working with your local food bank this season you can help make a difference in your community. There are multiple options for helping too. You can participate in local food drives, start your own, or you can even complete your Eagle Scout Project with them. If you cannot donate food but still wish to help you can also volunteer your services, donate money, or even donate your old clunker cars (which is tax deductible) to the Utah Food Bank!

You can stay up to date with what the Utah Food Bank is doing by going to their website or following them on Twitter and Facebook.

This holiday season let us come together to help those in our community who struggle with hunger. Join with your local food bank to make a donation today.

How You Can Farm in an Urban Area

For many the idea of living on a farm and and growing your own food is far from being a possibility. However, there are individuals who are making that idea more of a reality, and the best part is that they are able to do it in urban areas. They do this is by creating garden areas on rooftops of apartment buildings, on their windowsills, or in a community plot. You can find websites like this step by step blog provided by Andrea Romano and others for ideas on how to start your garden. It is also a good idea to talk to your neighbors or building manager to see if you can find others who would be interested in sharing a garden with you. The more individuals you get together, the larger the garden you can build. There are even programs available to help fund getting your garden started. If you visit the USDA’s website, you can find links to many of these funds, including Urban and Community Forestry Program and the Microloan Program.

By growing your own garden, you can become self-sufficient, teach your children responsibility, and eat healthier for cheaper. It also adds to the environment, giving you a relaxing atmosphere and adding color to cities, allowing for more green in an ever growing cement and steel landscape.


The Effect of Agricultural Communications on Agriculturalists

In agriculture we see hard working individuals who put in more hours a week than the average American with 56% of farmers reporting they work 10-14 hours a day and 17% working 15 or more hours a day. So with their busy schedule providing for everyone else, who is supposed to help provide for them? I don’t mean this in the sense of food and materials but of support. Working these long hours means that agriculturalists do not have the time necessary to speak on their own behalf. This is where agricultural communications comes in. Individuals who work in the agricultural communications world step up to take care of what farmers do not have time to do on their own.

One organization, the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), is doing there part in helping farmers and ranchers out. Members of NAFB stretch across the United States and hold various jobs. Reporters like Ken Root, who has been working in the agricultural communications world for 41 years, and Max Armstrong, who has over 30 years of agriculture journalism experience, have been able to tell important agriculture stories to consumers and have also been able to give need reports and information to agriculturalists. Agriculture communicators are a major bridge between consumers and agriculturalists.

For more information, visit the National Association of Farm Broadcasting website.

How You Can Support Local Agriculture

Many of your favorite foods are likely to be grown locally. Have you ever wondered what happens to your locally grown produce; where does it end up, who buys it, can you buy it, what are the benefits? Utah State University has a student run organic farm where students grow organic produce that is sold through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSA programs are in place to allow local farmers to reach the community while also providing fresh produce to consumers.

Kynda Curtis,  Ruby Ward and Karin Allen, professors at USU, did a study to discover how available local produce effected the eating habits of consumers. They released information from their study that 92.8 percent of the consumers who replied reported that their overall nutrition intake improved as a result of the CSA program. This helps to show how important it can be to have access to fresh produce supplied by local farmers. It also shows us that you can operate a small farm and still sell your crops and make a profit to keep your operation floating.

It is important that we take any chance that we can to support local agriculture by finding local CSA programs or farmers markets. You can usually find them online by searching Local Community Supported Agriculture Programs or Local Farmers Markets.

For information about the Cache Valley’s Farmers Market, visit

Take Notice: Colony Collapse Disorder

During a year’s time, from April 2015 to April 2016, beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies, according to Bee Informed. These losses lead to a great concern about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is when a large mass of a colonies worker bees withdraws, leaving only the queen, a few nurse bees and food for those remaining.

Bees are an important part of our agricultural system; without them our crops cannot get the pollination that they need. There are other insects that help to pollinate, but without a substantial amount of bees we would see farmers struggling to produce the necessary quantity of crops that we need to survive. From there it is basic economics, with a high demand and a lack of product, we will see prices sky rocket in the agriculture industry, causing prices for the consumers to also increase significantly. As consumers it is vital that we stay informed on CCD. Visit the USDA’s page or do research of your own to find how you can help prevent the decline in bees in the United States.

So God Made a Farmer; to Grow Your Food.

The world is made up of over 7 billion people, the United States alone is home to 324 million of those people, according to the United States Census Bureau. Knowing this, it may come as a surprise to you that farmers and ranchers only make up 2% of the U.S. population. That means that we rely on only 2% of the U.S. population in helping to feed, clothe, and provide essential materials to the world. The big question is who makes up the 2%? You have two groups that farms fall under, factory and family. Today we are looking at family farming, which makes up 97% of farms in the United States. These families dedicate their lives to producing goods for consumers. While doing this they also work to improve land management, work towards higher animal welfare, and work together to find ways to conserve water. All-the-while they are only making 16 cents of every dollar that is spent on food. So why do they put their life and soul into producing crops and raising animals when they could be working less hours on a factory line making a lot more money? It comes down to their family based lifestyle. Farming is where a family comes together, works as a unit, and grows together while providing for the world.

Paul Harvey’s So God Made a Farmer, produced by Ram Trucks truly shows just how wonderfully the family and farming go hand in hand.