Celebrating National Ag Week

March 19-25, 2017 marks the week dedicated to celebrating National Ag Week with National Ag Day falling on March 21. This day is set aside to recognize and celebrate the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. National Ag Week is a time for farmers to receive the recognition they deserve for all their hard work towards putting food on the table for families all across the country. Their efforts do not go unnoticed for they partake in one of the most important practices known to mankind.
Agriculture is the fuel that drives our great nation. As the population across the world continues to increase, the demand for the food and fiber products produced in the U.S. will continue to soar. U.S. agriculture is doing even more and doing it even better to keep up with the growing demands!

Advancements in Agriculture

The agriculture industry has experienced remarkable advancements and only continues to grow and evolve. In comparison with the 1950’s, today’s farmers produce 262% more food with a 2% decrease in inputs such as labor, fertilizer, seeds, etc. Technological advancements are happening everyday in the agricultural industry, including sensors, engineering and more. No, this doesn’t mean we have robotic farmers, but it does mean that our current farmers’ jobs do get more crucial as society continues to advance. Equipment assisting farmers with diagnosis of crops and livestock, and the use of real-time traceability has allowed farmers to produce healthier, fresher yields. New lengths in engineering allow farmers to use more efficient equipment and make the process less susceptible to problems. Staying up-to-date is no easy task, but farmers must keep improving to keep up with the growing demands of the world.

How Many People Does One Farmer Feed?

Farmers dedicate their lives to perfecting their craft and producing plentiful crops including fruit, vegetables, beans, cotton, wheat, and much more! 318.9 million people live in America – and they’re hungry! That’s A LOT of mouths to feed. In 2012, a total of $394.6 billion of agricultural sales took place in the U.S. with an average of $187,093 per farm. Each farmer in the U.S. produces enough food and fiber for approximately 160 people annually. Now that’s what we call a provider!

Agriculture Benefits Everyone, Everyday!

Agriculture touches our lives everyday; from our cotton sheets in the morning to our delicious dinner at night, agriculture is responsible for many of the things we need and enjoy. Millions of farmers work tirelessly on a daily basis to care for their crops, livestock, and land. Agriculture is an essential part of the average American’s life. Meat, vegetables, cotton, grain, rice, soy, and much more come from farm and ranch families, who make up only approximately 2% of the U.S. population. Let’s not forget that around 23% of raw food farmed here in the U.S. is exported each year to feed others around the globe. As you can see, agriculture is a major industry here in the U.S. and only continues to grow.

1 Acre = Tons of Food

In 2012, farmland in the U.S. reached a total of 915 millions acres. A single acre of cotton in the U.S. yields about 795 pounds of cotton a year. The United States is the world’s second largest cotton producer. Cotton is used in 39% of the world’s fibers and is the most used natural, non-synthetic fiber. It’s in our hats, jackets, shirts, jeans, underwear, socks and shoes! Cotton clothes us from our heads to our toes.
A single acre of wheat yields about 50 bushels and produces over 2,500 loaves of bread! Bread is a key component for a majority of the meals we consume, and let’s be honest, it’s delicious! Think about it; thousands and thousands of loaves of bread are produced from a single acre of wheat… That’s incredible! Hat’s off to farmers; we love our bread!

Saying that farmers are the reason we live and breathe is no exaggeration! As you can see, farmers have a direct effect on each and every life here in the United States and many people all around the world. American farmers are on the clock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep our stomachs full, our bodies warm, and our foundation strong. Support your local farms and pat them on the back for a job well done. This week we celebrate YOU – thank you for everything you do!

About Big R

Bill and Pat Crabtree originated the Illinois Big R Stores in 1964. The first store opened in Watseka, Illinois. To date 18 stores have been opened in central Illinois and northern Indiana.

We have 11 stores in Illinois including Watseka, Gibson City, Danville, Tilton, Pontiac, Morris, Washington, Rochelle, Pekin, Homer Glen and McHenry. Our 7 Indiana stores include Warsaw, Wabash, Crawfordsville, Michigan City, Elkhart, Marion and Rochester. We recently expanded to Northwest Ohio, adding stores in Lima and Findlay (Coming Soon).

The offices and warehouses for Big R remain in Watseka, IL. Joining the company in 1973, Jerry Gibbs now provides family leadership for the company. New generations of the Crabtree family continue to participate in the business.

Farm and Ranch store owners in the western states started the Big R brand name; they chose the name “Big R” to convey the “Ranch” identity. The Big R group is now comprised of 12 independent owners with a growing 75 + stores throughout the U.S. They all are members of Mid-States Distributing Company of St. Paul, MN. The Mid-States Coop has over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada.