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Celebrating National Agriculture Day

March 18, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo often those we most depend on don’t get special recognition. Those who go above the call of duty might occasionally make a headline, but for the most part aren’t recognized, while other individuals gain celebrity status despite being less talented.

After all, if we’re going into brain surgery don’t we want someone like the character Dr. Derek Shepherd (from Grey’s Anatomy) – nationally recognized, the best? For those who say all doctors are equal – would you want someone like that or someone like Dr. Oz doing your surgery?

We all depend on our soldiers, sailors, Marines and the military and non military pilots that keep planes in the sky. We depend on law enforcement, 911 operators and many others to keep things going on a daily basis, but too often take them for granted. What if they weren’t there? What if for a time no one answered the phone at 911? What if when you need help no one was available? What if what they did wasn’t done? Can you even imagine it?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomorrow is national agriculture day, a brief moment to recognize the role that agriculture plays in the world today. For this one day, may all of agriculture stand together. What is rosemary without pork or chicken and what is bacon without hashbrowns and eggs? Most of us want a complete meal, not just one thing. To do that, it takes all of agriculture.

It takes the people breeding the animals, raising the offspring, researching new seed varieties and techniques, planting, tending, harvesting, processing, shipping it to the stores and making it available for you to buy. It takes people to teach the next generation about careers in agriculture, being available for people who “just eat” to answer questions and finding new uses for agriculture products. Some farms, like us, do many of those tasks ourselves, but it all needs done, and needs done in volume to feed, clothe and in some cases medical care for  over 300 million people daily.

You see, agriculture isn’t just food, dear reader. Pigs contribute in a medical fashion as well, animal byproducts are used for plastic syringes and insulin has long been produced from pigs and cattle. According to the J&J Packing Company, hogs in particular are not just food, but medical.

Pig heart valves are used for human heart valve replacement surgeries.

Dentist use pig jaws for dental research.

Swine muscle tissue is used in medical research.

Hospitals use pig hearts, carotid arteries, and lungs for the study of endothelial cell function of porcine arteries.

Pig hearts, lungs and tracheas are used to teach paramedic anatomy labs.

Cardiology departments use pig hearts to study the elasticity of the coronary arteries.

Pig blood is used to study pediatric myocardial protection and lung injury during cardiopulmonary bypass. This research had immediate implications, and benefits to children who need open heart surgery to correct congenital heart problems. The research involved placing piglets on cardiopulmonary bypass to simulate children undergoing heart surgery. Blood is used to prime the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit

Pig tendons are being used in ACL knee operations in humans.

This puts much of the medical field, too, a benefactor of agriculture. As someone with a relative alive because of one of those pig heart valves, the amazing reach of agriculture in incredible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo as we look at national agriculture look at all of agriculture. Conventional, organic, large, small, processors, truckers that keep it moving to the cities, clothing and so much more. It surrounds us.

Tomorrow night in celebration of national ag day, the AgChat Foundation is having a dual Twitter and Facebook chat party. If you have questions about your food supply, please join us. Agriculture surrounds us all. It’s what we do, and we love to share it with others.

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