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WARRENSBURG — Missouri Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureau’s across the state are joining forces to celebrate the importance of agriculture during Celebrate Agriculture: Thank a Farmer Week from Feb. 2 to 8.

Thanks to farmers in Missouri and around the world, consumers have food choices, clothing, transportation and shelter.

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms in Missouri dropped from 99,171 on 28.5 million acres of land in 2012 to 95,320 on 27.8 million acres.

Despite the drop in farm numbers and acreage, Missouri continues to rank among the top 10 states in production of major commodities and provides an $88.4 billion economic impact.

America’s farms and farmers are the most productive in the world, with each farm annually producing enough food and fiber for 166 people, 106 in the U.S. and 60 abroad.

American consumers benefit from this bounty, yet spend less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food.

By 2050 the global population is expected to increase by 2.2 million people.

Farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than is currently produced.

Despite all that they produce, farm and ranch families account for less than two percent of the U.S. population.

Across the U.S., there are 2 million farms with 3.4 million farm operators.

This number includes owners, their families, hired workers, tenants and renters or sharecroppers.

Many farms today find multiple generations working together to produce food and fiber.

A recent study commissioned by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Missouri Farm Bureau confirmed that agriculture is the top industry in Missouri with a contribution of some $88.4 billion to the economy.

The study further revealed that 378,232 jobs, $2.2 billion in state/local taxes and $17.5 billion in labor income are derived from agriculture.

Agriculture helps to provide commodities such as food, clothing, fuel, medicine, entertainment, sports equipment, personal care products and school supplies.

Johnson County Farm Bureau will host a Thank A Farmer brunch celebrating Missouri Farmers and Ranchers at 10 a.m. Feb. 7 at Simple Blessings Barn, Knob Noster.

Check local fliers at MFA’s and feed stores for additional information.“Agriculture is important to our daily lives and our community,” Johnson County Farm Bureau President Buck Counts said. “Because 98 percent of the population doesn’t farm, it is easy to take for granted the importance of our farmers. Celebrate Agriculture: Thank a Farmer Week is a great time to recognize the important contribution made by farmers.”

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