I saw an interesting statistic the other day, one that perhaps illustrates the tremendous challenges that face our industry. The statistic was that in 1955 a US citizen spent about 18% of their income on food. By the same measure in 2008 the average citizen was spending about 9% of their income. Agriculture is a huge industry for Colorado and is in fact the second most important to our economy. The farming businesses produce over $7 billion every year and as regards overall economic activity that figure is about $20 billion. Colardo is also the second largest exporter of beef. All this brings in over $500 million of investment into Colorado every year. Let’s also not forget the jovs our industry produces at a conservative estimate approximately 110,000 jobs directly – about 4% of the total.
Of course the technology and productivity of most farmers in the developed world has increased greatly and Colarado is no different. It’s a pretty good job that it has increased – the world population has doubled since the 1970s – that’s an awful lot more mouths to feed. The productivity of the farms has increased so much that it is truly incredible – the reasons are based on genetics, chemistry, ecology and even engineering using the advanced tools and vehicles that allow much more efficient production particularly in large farms like we have.
If you’re interested in all these developments I urge you to keep up with the latest farming news. For those who like to see an international feel to their farming news, then try the BBC World service for one. They have a great programme called Farmers Today which addresses issues confronting all farmers across the world. You can access the show on the internet and even watch related shows using the BBC Iplayer application – it generally gets blocked outside the UK but this site shows you how to access it – http://www.anonymous-proxies.org/2009/02/using-iplayer-abroad-viewing-bbc-via.html
The challenge for all farmers is massive – the UN have estimated that due to the growing population that world farmers will need to produce as much food by 2050 as produced since farming started! This interesting fact was picked up from one of my favorite Facebook Farming groups, not sure if it’s true – check it out.