Recently, I was reminded about the significance our Founding Fathers played on agriculture. It’s truly inspiring.
In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington proclaiming, “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”
Where would our country be if every person in Washington D.C., every state capitol, every local representative and every citizen would embrace these words?
One thing Thomas Jefferson was known for was his commitment to agriculture. In many documented letters Thomas Jefferson promoted the introduction of new plant species. When writing about his own services to his country he stated, “The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its agriculture.”
Thomas Jefferson wasn’t the only Founding Father that had an extreme interest in agriculture; George Washington and Benjamin Franklin did as well.
So I began researching the topic a little more, I am sure I’ve been taught this many times in my life but it is always a good reminder of where we came from and what the vision for our country was over 200 years ago. In fact, I wrote a paper in college about Benjamin Franklin’s contributions to agriculture.
Do you think their devotion to agriculture was because they were more connected to it than our country as a whole is now? If they wanted to eat they had to grow it themselves. They couldn’t run to the nearest Wal-Mart and buy a steak, corn on the cob and potatoes for dinner that night.
Less than 2 percent of our population is in agriculture today, what percentage of the population in the 1700s was in agriculture? I don’t know the answer but I am willing to bet it was more than 2 percent.
Advocating agriculture to the rest of the 98 percent of our population should be of the upmost importance to everyone in the agricultural industry. If we don’t teach them the importance of it, who will?
I’ll leave you with this thought from Benjamin Franklin, “There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.”
Best wishes,


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