When people think of agriculture, what’s the first thing that they think of? For many it is the livestock and any other types of farmers out there that help people to bring their food and other necessities to their homes every day. For others, it could be any other job that falls into the agriculture industry, of which there are many that exist that are not always thought of. And yet, for some people it might not be much at all.
March is Agriculture Month, a time to look at agriculture and the industry that feeds and takes care of not just America, but the entire world. Probably for most people this does not actually mean very much, but for others, especially those in the agricultural industry itself, the fact that this month exists means a lot. It means that the work that they do is recognized and that even if a lot of people do not realize how much agriculture means in their everyday lives, there are some people out there who do.
Agriculture Around the World
In today’s day and age around ten percent of the United States workforce is involved in the agriculture industry in one way or another. This might mean that they are farmers, or that they are tractor mechanics or veterinarians, or a part of any other type of business that exists that falls into the agriculture industry. The total amount of people involved in agriculture in the US today is just around 2.6 million, which is a steep decline from the 1930s where the amount of people working on farms totalled around 7 million, meaning that these days less than four percent of the population of the United States is out working on farms on a daily basis, with forty-five percent of the total population of the world involved in agriculture.
And yet without agriculture, the world today would be a very different place. Everyday items that most people barely take the time to think of, let alone connect to agriculture, would be completely gone if the agriculture industry did not exist in America or anywhere else in the world. This is the reason why, despite the dwindling numbers, farmers and others involved in agriculture continue to persevere with what they are doing, even during these difficult times.
The Redlecki family is a family of dairy farmers from French Creek, New York that have made their living in different aspects of the agriculture industry. Their farm was started in 1958, and later on the family exited farming for a while in 1987, to start back up again in 1994. These days the farm is run by John and James Redlecki with the help of the rest of the family and they have around one hundred cows made up mostly of Holsteins and a few Brown Swiss cows.
Darlene Redlecki, John’s wife, was raised on a dairy farm as well before marrying into the Redlecki family and has centered her life around agriculture, being also a past Chautauqua County Dairy Princess and being extremely active in the Clymer Chapter of FFA while in high school. Agriculture means a lot, not just to Darlene, but the entire family.
“Agriculture is our life,” Redlecki said. “It’s certainly our lifestyle. Jokingly we say farming is in our blood.”
The Redlecki farm is made up of John and Darlene’s family along with James and his wife, Nicole’s family, with James taking on the role as the main farmer. The older children also have their own jobs on the farm, such as night chores and helping in the field during cropping season. The family has also recently gotten into the maple syrup industry as well.
“It’s one of our favorite times of the year!” Redlecki said.
The family also has a hobby farm of goats, rabbits, and chickens on the side. Additionally, Redlecki said that agriculture means a lot to her family besides just the farm, and means a lot to everyone’s lives as well, even if they do not realize it.
“We see agriculture as a vast area of science, which impacts all of our lives every day.,” Redlecki said. “This includes the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, the source of heat for our homes, trees for writing, furniture and making books to be read, and so on. Have you ever thought of all the areas in your life that rely on the field of agriculture? It would be challenging to live without agriculture!”
Why does it matter?
So, in the end, the question that exists is a simple one; why does agriculture matter?
The answer to this is really quite simple. Without agriculture, there would be nothing left in the world. Anything that is produced today can connect to agriculture in one way or another. And to many, many people, it’s not just about what’s produced. It is their lives.
Love and perseverance. That is what it really comes down to. Every farmer loves their animals and other things that they take care of on a daily basis, and knows how to take care of them the right way and for the right reasons. Every single person involved in the agriculture industry does what they do for others, whether it’s the world, or even just simply their family and local community.
Locally, Chautauqua County is known to be number one in the state for their farms and farming practices, making it one of the most important agricultural counties in New York State. This would not be the case if farmers gave up when the times got hard, or did not care about the animals and land that they take care of on a daily basis. Every farmer has bad days, and yet they continue on in the business and out on the farm all day every day, because the animals and crops need them and they know that better days are coming. They keep on going because they love their animals and the animals love them.
Even if there are people in the world who do not understand what agriculture means, or who do not know that without agriculture we would not even have clothes on our bodies to wear, the agriculture industry continues forward. This is why National Agriculture Month is so important, to those in the industry and to the world as a whole. It’s why there are still over one billion people in the world with full time jobs in the agriculture sector.
It really does matter. It matters to each and every farmer out there that what they do has a purpose, and that every single animal under their care has the best life that they can give them. It matters that they have a story to tell at the end of the day, the story of their own love and perseverance. And whether or not people know it, it matters to the world. It’s what keeps the world going.
Agriculture has always been here in one way or another. And while the numbers of people involved are dwindling, there are new people getting involved every day, leaving the agriculture sector with a message of hope. That message of hope continues because of things such as National Agriculture Month. With the world continuing to grow and come back from a pandemic, agriculture is needed more than ever, and National Agriculture Month is a time for people to take a step back and really look at everything that this ever-important industry does for them.
Agriculture is one of the most needed industries in the entire world, if not the most needed. It’s why it has always been here. And it’s why it always will be.