Where does your food come from?

If you're like many Americans, the answer is the grocery store. The problem is, that answer is incorrect. The grocery store isn't where food comes from; it is just where food is distributed.

In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table.

Just a few generations ago, most people were a part of and had friends or relatives involved with agriculture. Today that's no longer the case. That's why I'm writing, because agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of life: food, fiber, clothing and shelter. As Americans, we need to recognize that contribution.

American farmers are working harder than ever, and it shows. Today, each American farmer feeds more than 165 people. The need for food produced in the United States is dramatic. Agriculture is this nation's #1 export and is vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy. This industry employs 143,000 South Dakotans on roughly 31,500 farms, and 98% of the farms are family-owned.

It's not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industry -- from the producer all the way to the grocery store -- is a vital link in a chain that brings food to every citizen and millions of people abroad.

It's easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we are unbelievably fortunate, but that doesn't mean that we don't have an obligation to recognize how this is made possible.

March 24, 2020, is National Ag Day, hosted by the Agriculture Council of America. Ag Day is a good time to reflect, and be grateful for, American agriculture! On behalf of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, thank you area farmers for all that you do.

Tom Kahler, chairman

Chamber Ag Committee

Madison, March 24