David Schaad, acting executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in California invites everyone to Celebrate National Agriculture Day on March 20, 2009, and support the row crop farmers, fruit and vegetable producers, food scientists, livestock ranchers, equipment manufacturers and others who will take our country's agriculture industry into the future.

“American agriculture is doing more – and doing it more efficiently – than ever before,” said Schaad. “Today, each American farmer feeds more than 130 people. In 1960, each farmer fed 28 people. Innovations in farming techniques and technology have increased efficiency in the food production process.”

But the industry provides more than food, feed and fiber, says Schaad. It also produces ingredients for biofuels, solvents, lubricants, plastics, building materials and more. FSA also administers America’s largest conservation program on private lands through its Conservation Reserve Program.

“We are proud to honor American farmers and celebrate their contribution to the nation and the world on National Agriculture Day,” Schaad said. “The agriculture industry is the foundation of our nation’s economy, and farmers are essential to keeping that economy strong.”

Today, more than 22 million people work in the agriculture industry. This includes careers in everything from food chemistry to banking to commodity trading. And the job descriptions of tomorrow’s agriculture professionals may look quite different because of advances in farming technology and the broad opportunities that extend far beyond the field.

Help celebrate agriculture and support its future on National Agriculture Day. Events in Washington, D.C., leading up to National Agriculture Day include congressional visits on Capitol Hill led by national FFA student leaders, a luncheon and rally on Capitol Hill and a dinner at the USDA.

National Agriculture Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.