Yuma Ag and You: Be thankful for Agriculture

Bobbi Stevenson-McDermott   Nov. 27, 2016 publication

During this season of thankfulness, everyone in Yuma County needs to reflect on the positive things about living here. A healthy agricultural industry that provides 48 percent or more of the dollars that support our economy is amazing. The sounds of freedom from our military bases, the second largest income provider for the county partners seamlessly with the city and county. The winter visitor industry enhances the quality of life for many in the community through their generosity and support of local schools and organizations. Our ‘not summer’ weather from October to May allows participation in outdoor pursuits of every kind, every day.

It was with total shock last Sunday as I read the opinions page of The Arizona Republic and saw this caption under a picture of a group of farm workers harvesting lettuce. Quote, ‘Much of Arizona’s and the nation’s economy, such as lettuce harvesting near Yuma, would wither without undocumented immigrants. President-elect Donald Trump should keep this in mind.’ The picture was above an political editorial. I immediately went high and right and fired a letter to the editor of the Republic, asking how they could print such a bald faced lie about our agricultural workers. I do not expect to see it in print.

It really bothers me that there is so much ignorance in the media about what happens in agriculture, whether it be chemical use, farm workers, genetic engineering, water management, dust and air quality and a myriad of other issues writers disparage agriculture with creating. The farmers, ranchers and other commodity producers of the United States provide the safest, most nutritious and wholesome food in the world. Do the citizens of the United States really want to make American agriculture a thing of the past and become dependent on foreign countries for our food supplies?

Why is agriculture the main target of such attacks? I know that our local agricultural industry is actively involved in commodity groups, national associations and lobbying organizations for the survival of farming and ranching in the United States. It seems like no one is listening. Creating greater awareness of the importance of American agriculture to us and the world is one of the greatest challenges that farming and ranching face.

Whatever your holiday meals consist of, be thankful for the American farmers and ranchers who have provided the bounty you enjoy.