Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Capstone Project

Agriculture in Daily Life

Though most of us are not faced on a daily basis with the realities of the agriculture industry, it still plays a huge part in our lives. With the rising price of oil likely to cause a continuing and sharper rise in food prices, the effects of the agriculture industry might son be felt even more sharply by the average American citizen (USDA). Agriculture provides us with our sustenance, whether or not we are always aware of this fact, and is therefore of immense importance not only to our happiness and well being, but even to the continued day-to-day operations of our society and civilization. Throughout much of 2008, food prices around the world fluctuated wildly as part of the early fall-out of the economic crisis, and government interventions into such pricing issues usually costs a significant amount of our hard-earned tax dollars (USDA). Not acknowledging the impact of agriculture in today’s world is simply naive.

Agriculture does not just provide us with the fruits and vegetables with which it is most commonly associated, either. Almost everything we ingest, whether we ought to or not, comes from an agricultural product. Beer cannot be brewed without various grains, nor can bread be baked; and steak must ruminate on something before it ends up on the plate. For this reason, agricultural fluctuations tend to have a ripple effect on other aspects of the economy, especially food production. A rise in beef prices is being narrowly avoided right now; wheat fields in the southern plains that are used as grazing grounds for cattle have been dwindling, and usually when this occurs ranchers must purchase feed and establish their herds in feed lots — all at great expense — in order to retain their herd’s value, and these costs are passed on to the consumer (Aldrich, 1). Luckily, however, an increase in grass growth is making up the difference, for now at least (Aldrich, 2). Other agricultural issues are not fixed so easily.

Farmland around the country has diminished by 16.9 million acres between 2002 and 2007 (House, 5). This is going to have a direct impact on the cost and even the availability of food in the supermarkets in the near future. At the same time, more and more small farms are springing up (House, 2). This suggests that more people are actually desiring a return to agriculture, possibly as a way of becoming more connected with the way we live. Farming is the most complete way to remind oneself how important agriculture is. Other reminders of this ever-present importance come less frequently, but have just as big an impact on our daily lives.

Something slightly scary is going on when you can’t go to the store and buy a jar of peanut butter without worrying. Yet the recent peanut butter salmonella scare did just that, causing another re-examination of our nation’s federal food safety oversight procedures (U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture). In addition to disappointing lunch-bag toting schoolchildren across the country, this agricultural blunder is going to cost massive tax dollars if an effective precautionary procedure is to be developed and put into place. Add this to the farm subsidies that make up one of the biggest non-security related domestic expenditures, and the financial impact of keeping the agricultural system operational, efficient, and safe quickly becomes apparent (House Committee on Agriculture). These operations and machinations might seem very removed from us, but we pay for the government’s time, and much of it is spent dealing with agriculture. Still, given the importance of the industry and our daily reliance on its products, perhaps that time is wisely spent.

Agriculture Industry

The agricultural industry is one of the most important sectors of any country. It helps enhance the economy of a country by producing goods that can be sold in and out of the country and by creating thousands of job opportunities for the people. Not only that; the agricultural industry is also sharing significant contribution to the health sector of the country because of the industry’s main products. Because of these, all other sectors of a country, particularly the educational sector, has also seen opportunities where the two sectors education and agriculture – can be interconnected and would mutually benefit from each other.

If the schools and universities would advocate the consumption of agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables, more and more students will benefit academically, mentally and physically. In the same manner, if more students will be encouraged to eat and use agricultural products in their daily life, the overall agricultural sector will continue to boom. As it is evident that both the schools and the agricultural sector would benefit if consumption of fruits and vegetables will be highlighted and promoted in schools, both sectors should then realize some approaches on how to initiate such action.

It would then be a very good starting point if there will be activities in schools which will focus on the benefits of continuous consumption of agricultural products. To do so, the agricultural industry must establish series of information dissemination through instigating a number of student group activities and student-teacher forums in schools.

Group activities can be tree planting or vegetable planting of the students. This can be made more exciting by making it seem like a contest – it may be on a year level or by-section contest – with which the winning group will be earning a special price. Contest can be in the form of which group may be able to harvest the most numbers of crops planted, or which group may be able to plant the healthiest and greenest crops and the like.

Agricultural industry must also ask both the students and the teachers to enjoin in a number of forums about agricultural products. Student-teacher forums about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables can be done which can either be within the normal or outside the normal class hours. Both the students and the teachers will be sharing insights, personal experiences regarding how they benefit from eating fruits and vegetables. This forum can be enjoined by students – from all year levels – and all teachers, especially those who have backgrounds on health, nutrition and the sciences.

To add more support to this advocate, the school canteens should also offer more vegetables and fruits as part of everyday menu instead of junk and/or ready-to-eat foods. This way, more students may also be inclined to buying vegetables or fruits as snacks or meals.

Indeed, there can be a number of ways which the agricultural sectors can tap the schools to promote the continuous and higher consumption of fruits and vegetables. Students, because of their younger and flexible minds – can be easily persuaded to prioritize things or foods as long as they know the benefits that they could get from doing so. Health, intellectual and physical benefits – all of which are positively affected by eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables – are enough grounds for them to believe that they should maximize the opportunity of having fruits and vegetables around by having them as regular part of their diet.


2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Aldrich, Lester. “Dry Wheat Forces Plains Cattlemen to Seek Feed Alternatives.” Dow Jones Wire Service. 3 February 2009. Accessed 4 February 2009.

House Committee on Agriculture Official Website. 2009. Accessed 5 February 2009.

House, Dawn. “Ag Census: Farmland Dwindling, Farms Shrinking.” Salt Lake Tribune. 4 February 2009. Accessed 5 February 2009.

United State Department of Agriculture. “Agricultural Baseline Projections.” February, 2009. Accessed 4 February, 2009.

United States Senate Committee on Agriculture Official Website. 2009. Accessed 5 February 2009.

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