National Ag Day – A Time to Thank our Farmers

Cosmo Servidio, EPA Region III Administrator (center), meets with farmers in western Pennsylvania to learn about the successes and challenges of producing food and protecting local streams.

March 14, 2019: Today is National Ag Day – a day to celebrate our farmers and ranchers – the hard-working men and women who bring food to our tables every day. Farmers are the first environmentalists and we are so grateful for all they do to take care of the land and our local streams for generations to come.

I am proud of the agriculture community in our Mid-Atlantic region. Every year, $15.5 billion of agricultural products are sold in our region. Pennsylvania is number 1 in mushroom production in the country and in the top 5 for milk production every year. The Delmarva Peninsula is a top chicken-producing region where chickens out number people 6 to 1. West Virginia has the highest percentage of family-owned farms in the nation – now that’s staying power. Agriculture is a vital part of our landscape, our culture, and our economy.

Understanding where our food comes from is so important. Farmers and ranchers make up only 2% of the U.S. population. That means that most of us did not grow up on farms or even grow up visiting our grandparents’ farms. I have spent the first year of my job as Regional Administrator talking to hundreds of farmers and ranchers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region: meeting their families, learning about their operations, and hearing what they are most proud of and the challenges they face. Farmers are stewards of the land, true innovators, and resilient in the face of many challenges that are often out of their control – weather being the primary issue this past year.

I am grateful to our farmers for keeping the lines of communication open and engaging in this dialogue. By learning from each other, we can have a thriving agricultural sector and clean drinking water and local streams for our communities to enjoy for years to come.

About the Author: Cosmo Servidio is the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region

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