April's Ag Advice by April Borders Agriculture is a vital part of our state and our county, but sometimes we fail to see just how intertwined agriculture is in our lives. Agriculture will be forever intertwined in all aspects of our urban and our rural communities. Agriculture gives us many things, like food, clothing and shelter but we also get many other products.
In order to help people understand just how intertwined agriculture is in our lives Clay, Union and Yankton Cooperative Extension Services in conjunction with First Dakota National Bank, Meckling, Vermillion and Union fertilizer companies and Clay County Farm Bureau are sponsoring a "Field To Table Consumer Night."
The "Consumer Night" is part of an educational program called "Field to Table." The "Field to Table" project is an in-field classroom that allows students (grades 3-5), and the public, to get a first hand look at corn and soybeans as they grow in the fields. This unique experience is open to the public so that they can learn about agriculture and crop production.
We feel that this is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the operation of a farm, how our local commodities are grown, and what our local crops are used for in our everyday lives. We will also be addressing modern production issues, biotechnology and genetically modified crops.
As you look around, you are sure to find something that is a by-product of corn. Corn is found in everything from adhesives to tires, paper and gasoline. In fact, there are more that 3,500 different uses from corn products and new ones are being found each day. Corn is a vital component of consumer's diets. Refined corn products are used in nearly 4,000 consumable food items found on the grocers' shelves. South Dakota's corn producers contribute over 400 million bushels of corn annually insuring an ample supply of corn products and feed for livestock.
Soybeans are often called the "miracle crop." Although soybeans were not grown by many farmers in the United States until the early 1900s, today they are the world's foremost provider of protein and oil. As well as being part of our daily diet, soybeans are found in many other products that we regularly use. South Dakota grown soybeans are processed into protein meal for animal feed and oil with uses as diverse as bakery products, shortening and printing ink. Annual soybean production exceeds 133 million bushels ranking South Dakota eighth nationally in soybean production. Continued and improved production of soybeans by South Dakota's producers insures soy products are available for consumers to enjoy.
Wheat is an important part is people's diets all over the world. It is also the most versatile grain known to man. It is a storehouse of nutrients and is part of the foods that we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wheat production in South Dakota is approximately 120 million bushels annually which is processed for human consumption. South Dakota produces hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, durum wheat and hard white wheat. The hard red and white wheats, which are high in protein, provide consumers with high quality flour for breads and other baked foods while durum wheat is used in making pasta.
South Dakota ranks among the top 10 states nationally in producing wheat, corn and soybeans plus many other agricultural crops. So if you are interested in finding out more about where your foods come from and how agriculture relates to you, come join us for "Consumers Night," Thursday, Sept. 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
"Consumers Night" takes place in a corn and soybean field located on Hwy 50 and I-29 by the Coffee Cup parking lot. We will be serving hotdogs, chips and pop and we will also have some light entertainment.
If you have any questions about the "Field to Table" classroom project or about "Consumers Night" please call the Extension Office at 677-7111.