NEWS for North Dakotans
Agriculture Communication, North Dakota State University
7 Morrill Hall, Fargo, ND 58105-5665
March 16, 2000
On March 20, the nation will celebrate an industry that employs more than 22 million Americans, including 25 percent of North Dakotans. The industry is agriculture, and March 20 has been designated as National Ag Day. During National Ag Week, March 19-25, volunteers and organizations will help to educate the nation's youth about the importance of agriculture and the career opportunities that are available.
"Our challenge is to identify for students areas of study and careers that fit their needs, whether in traditional production agriculture or non-traditional areas," said Patricia Jensen, North Dakota State University vice president for agricultural affairs. Along with NDSU's longtime strengths in traditional agriculture programs, newer educational programs in the college include biotechnology, food safety, natural resource management and plant protection. This shows that modern agriculture is a world of opportunity that can attract the young and talented as they match their interests with what they enjoy, whether they come from a rural or urban background, according to Jensen.
"In North Dakota, agriculture is the heart of our economy," said Jensen. Agriculture is the leading revenue-producing industry in North Dakota, accounting for 40 percent of the state's economic base. According to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota ranks first in the nation in the production of the following commodities: flaxseed, canola, durum wheat, sunflowers, pinto beans, spring wheat, all dry edible beans, barley and rye.
In fact, North Dakota farmers and ranchers annually produce: enough wheat for 108 billion sandwiches, barley for 42 billion cans of beer, potatoes for 2 billion servings of french fries, beef for 2 billion hamburgers, wool for 640,000 sweaters, enough milk for 1.6 billion glasses, pork for 65 million pork chops, sunflowers to fill more than 400 million bags of sunflower seeds and durum for 93 servings of pasta for every American.
Source: Patricia Jensen (701) 231-7656
Editor: Becky Koch (701) 231-7875
Writer: Beth Payne