March 15, 2011

Celebrate Nebraska during Ag Week

It's National Ag Week – and today, in fact, is National Ag Day – and many events are happening in Washington, D.C., around the country and in Nebraska to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.

The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

For more AgDay facts and figures be sure to check out

In Nebraska, we're fortunate to have a wide range of agriculture production – and an agriculture sector that drives the state's economy year after year. The production and capabilities of Nebraska's agriculture sector is simply astounding and certainly worth celebrating!

Here are a few stats, compiled by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Nebraska is first in the nation in (2010 figures unless noted):
  • Commercial red meat production, 7,144,800,000 lbs.
  • Commercial cattle slaughter, 6,950,300 head
  • Commercial cattle slaughter, live weight, 9,124,450,000 lbs. 
  • Great Northern beans production, 1,186,000 cwt.
  • Popcorn production (2007), 294,541,958 lbs. (133,601,961 kg.)
Nebraska is second in the nation in –
  • All cattle on feed (Jan. 1, 2011),  2,500,000 head
  • Pinto beans production, 1,650,000 cwt.
  • Proso millet production, 2,640,000 bushels
  • Ethanol production, with 24 operating plants having production capacity of 2 billion gallons
Nebraska is third in the nation in –
  • Corn for grain production, 1,469,100,000 bushels
  • All cattle and calves (Jan. 1, 2011), 6,200,000 head
  • All dry edible beans production, 3,193,000 cwt.
A few other stats. Nebraska is...
  • Fourth in the nation in cash receipts from all farm commodities, soybean production, on-farm grain storage and off-farm grain storage capacity
  • Sixth in the nation in all hogs and pigs on farms and grain sorghum production
  • Seventh in winter wheat production, alfalfa hay production and commercial hog slaughter
  • Eighth in certified organic cropland acres and certified organic pasture acres (2008)
  • Tenth in table egg layers (flocks of 30,000+)
That's a whole lot of agriculture and really just the tip of the iceberg. Just think of all the people, products and businesses involved in producing all those ag products in Nebraska every year!

While several ag-related activities are happening throughout the state during ag week, one that would be great to attend is Friday afternoon (March 18) at the Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning (near Hastings). Prairie Loft is a great venue for sharing ag and food information and it conducts and hosts many educational activities throughout the year. On Friday, it will host Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach and others who will be featured in a short program beginning at 3 p.m.

There also is a reception until 7 p.m. at Prairie Loft as part of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours program). Sponsors include Adams County Farm Bureau, Dakota Mac, S&S Septic Plumbing, Ron Pavelka Farms, West Fork Farms and Weeks Farms.

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