In recognition of National Agriculture Week, March 14-20, CropLife America (CLA) asks the American people to reflect upon the accomplishments of farmers made possible through modern agriculture. The world population is expected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and the accompanying development and growth of the agricultural industry is vital.

Farmers face a growing demand for food, and must grow it using less land and water, yet still rise to the challenge of producing more with less. Through innovative modern agricultural practices, such as the use of crop protection products, farmers can create more food, fuel and fiber, contribute to the country’s economic output, and help preserve the land for future generations.

The data reinforces agriculture as a crucial part of the American economy. The United States Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates that in 2007 every $1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports created 9,000 American jobs. Overall, the industry generated a total of 808,000 jobs – 271,000 full-time jobs in the farm sector and an additional 537,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector. In 2008, American farmers helped to produce $115.2 billion of agricultural exports. Many of these numbers can be attributed to modern agriculture and its ability to effectively and safely grow more food than ever before.

“The contributions American farmers make are often overlooked and misunderstood. We consistently depend on our farmers to feed the growing population, yet they are also supporting a vibrant economy and contributing to international competitiveness, all due in part to modern farm practices,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “As we recognize agriculture’s current role during National Ag Week, it is also crucial that future regulations and policies continue to support and encourage its further growth.”

Through new technologies, farmers are able to preserve more land for the future. Scientists from fields as diverse as biology, chemistry, ecology and entomology and from government, industry and academia are intensely involved in developing improved seeds and other technological advances – such as drought- and disease-resistant ones for farmers working arid or wet farmland. In the process, modern agriculture is employing innovative production methods – from biotechnology, drip-irrigation techniques and conservation tillage systems and used with the latest fertilizer and pest management advice. This is helping enhance current food production and also address pressing needs for the future.

A nationwide initiative, National Ag Week celebrates and recognizes the contributions and accomplishments of agriculture in America. More details on National Ag Week can found at www.agday.org. For more information on the economic impact of modern agriculture and its role in sustainable farming, please visit www.croplifeamerica.org.