NORWICH — Agriculture Day, March 21, and Agriculture Month was recently recognized by Assemblyman Joseph Angelino (R,C - Norwich) and the City of Norwich Common Council.
Agriculture is an industry that has only grown in importance over the years, with each American farmer feeding approximately 166 people in the United States and abroad, compared to the average 25.8 people in 1960. However, the number of farmers in the US has dropped over the years. In 1970, 90 percent of the American population were farmers, but today that number is less than two percent.
Angelino's office said, "Agriculture plays a vital role in the economy of New York, and without the hardworking farmers of this state, we would not have access to the food we are accustomed to."
Bradd Vickers of the Chenango County Farm Bureau was presented with an Assembly Proclamation by Angelino to commemorate Agriculture Day as well as the great work his organization does for agriculture.
“Agriculture day is so important, especially to my district, which is surrounded by rural farmland. These family farms bring important economic resources and jobs to both my district and the state as a whole. Agriculture has a storied history in this state in fact, agriculture is enshrined in our state constitution Article 14, Section 4 reads, ‘The policy of the state shall be to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural lands for the production of food and other agricultural products,’” said Angelino.
A proclamation was also presented by City of Norwich Mayor Brian Doliver at Tuesday's common council meeting.
"For Agriculture Month, whereas agriculture is the basis for our community and the nation, providing nourishment that keeps us growing. Whereas many American farms and ranches are family-owned and operated, successfully achieving prosperity while passing down a way of life and commitment to the land for future generations," read Doliver. "Whereas we as Americans need to recognize the value of agriculture in our daily lives, and spread the word about its importance."
"Whereas the City of Norwich wishes to pay tribute to the many farmers and ranchers in the greater Norwich area who perform their jobs with pride, dedication, and hard work, as agriculture is growing a climate for tomorrow, now therefore be it resolved that I, Brian Doliver, Mayor of the City of Norwich, New York, do hereby recognize March as Chenango County Agriculture Month, and encourage all citizens to celebrate the agriculture of Chenango County."
Vickers addressed the council to explain why agriculture is so important to American society, citing the 33,400 farms and over 6,900,000 acres of operational farmland that contribute more than $5.4 billion annually in agricultural sales to the New York State economy, and the $200 billion contributed to the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the agriculture industry per quarter.
"In the US, there are 39,000 dairy farms milking just over 9 million cows, and fully 95 percent of those farms are family-owned and operated, and in New York State, 99 percent of farms are family-owned and operated, many having been passed down from generation to generation," said Vickers. "At the end of the day, less than two percent of the US population are farmers, working hard each day to produce the food that nourishes all of us. It's a 365-day-a-year job."