As we gather to feast with family and friends this holiday season, let us remember to extend our gratitude to the farmers and ranchers who sustain our lives.
Thanks to their tireless efforts in times of unpredictable weather and rising operating costs, America remains fortunate to enjoy a vast and safe food supply.
In Texas, the men and women who make it their life’s work to feed and clothe our nation impact the Lone Star State’s economy to the tune of more than $100 billion. Agriculture also supports one in seven Texas jobs and has earned Texas the distinction of being the nation’s leader in cattle, cotton, hay, sheep, wool, goat, mohair and horse production.
It’s been said that everything is bigger in Texas, and that is true for agriculture in more ways than one. Eighty percent of Texas’ acreage is related to agriculture in some way. That translates to 130 million acres on which agricultural output is going strong throughout the year.
Our appreciation of Texas farmers and ranchers is especially deserved this year as the economy and natural disasters have presented enormous challenges. High costs of fuel, feed and fertilizer have shocked farming operations while hurricanes on our Gulf Coast have left lives and land in ruin.
While consumers are also feeling the pinch of higher costs, it is reassuring to know Americans have the safest, most abundant and most reliable food supply in the world. According to the American Farm Bureau, the basic items used to prepare a classic dinner will cost 6 percent more this year, or approximately $44.61 to feed 10 people. That cost per person translates to $4.46, which remains a bargain.
As you wander the aisles of your neighborhood grocery store this holiday season, stop and think for a moment how the fresh produce, quality meats, dairy products and canned goods made their way to the shelves. And as you sit down for a holiday meal, remember to tip your hat to Texas farmers and ranchers who bring you the food that feeds your family and enriches your lives.