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How Many Farmers Does It Take?

by Darla Noble

Farmer looking over cropsWhat are your three favorite things to eat? What is your favorite restaurant? Pretty easy questions, right? Now tell me how many farmers it takes to get those favorites off the plate and into your belly. Can you? Do you know just how vital the agricultural industry is to our existence? Do you appreciate the truth in the farmer’s favorite bumper sticker, “NO FARMS NO FOOD”?

Let’s test your food knowledge. Let’s take a look at some of America’s favorite foods and see who all is responsible for giving us so many delicious things to eat.

Pizza is arguably a favorite of Americans everywhere-young and old. Would you be surprised to know that it takes an average of seven farmers to make one sausage pizza? You need the…

You need a wheat farmer, a corn or soybean farmer and a poultry farmer to provide the flour, oil and eggs for the crust. The produce farmer, herb farmer and dairy farmer produce the tomatoes, spices and cheese that are essential in the world of pizza. And last but not least, you need a hog farmer. The hogs he raises provide the sausage we love to sink our teeth into.

Count them…there’s seven.

What about that Chinese buffet we like to park ourselves in front of on Friday nights? Oh, where to begin.

Farmers who raise beef, pork, poultry and both fresh and saltwater fish all contribute. Rice farmers, wheat farmers (to make the flour for the noodles), peanut farmers (oil), sesame farmers (yes, those little tasty seeds and the oil they produce come from a plant) and soy bean farmers are also essential. The produce farmer gives us broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, peppers and all the other veggies on the buffet. And just because we can, we’ll mention the poultry farmers again whose eggs are responsible for both the egg drop soup and the fortune cookies.

One, two, three…eleven at the very least!
The humble Happy Meal depends on three or four farmers (see if you can name them), mac-n-cheese needs four and America’s favorite candy bar (it starts with an ‘s’ and ends with a ‘kers’) needs four farmers to hit the shelves.

So the next time you take a bite of anything, stop and think about how hard the farmers of our nation work to make it possible for you to eat. And see if you can figure out how many farmers it takes.

About The Author

Darla Noble

Darla Noble is a freelance writer and agricultural specialist. She and her family have played a prominent role in Missouri and Mid West agriculture; predominantly in the production and marketing of sheep, value-added agricultural programs and the agri-tourism industry. They've been named MO Farm Family and their farm has been featured in several publications.