Food and fiber in your daily lives, fueled by the LSU AgCenter

Ask a coworker, your children or yourself, Where do your food and fiber come from? The answer may be the grocery store or the mall. But those locations are only the distribution points — not where the raw product begins.

National Ag Day is this week on March 15. It’s a good time to pause to appreciate American agriculture and build awareness of where your food and fiber come from.

Agriculture is responsible for providing the life basics: food, fiber, clothing and shelter. Today, each American farmer feeds more than 144 people, with agriculture products being the nation's No. 1 export. In Louisiana, agriculture is a $13 billion industry, with forest products being the top agricultural commodity.

The ag producer is not the only component that makes our food and fiber possible. Land-grant universities in each state — in Louisiana, the LSU AgCenter and Southern University Ag Center — provide the research, education and extension programs that enhance the environment and improve the quality of life through 4-H youth, family and consumer sciences, and agricultural programs.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says the world population is estimated to grow to 9.5 billion people by 2050, and those people will need approximately twice as much food, clothing and shelter than now. Our land-grant universities are poised to provide the solutions to meet this need by developing more effective and efficient plant varieties, extending the knowledge and products to producers, and developing and educating youth.

One way the LSU AgCenter is building agriculture awareness is through our AgMagic events across the state, from the State Fair in Shreveport to Baton Rouge to Docville in St. Bernard Parish. We reach more than 60,000 youth and teachers through these interactive events, which teach visitors where food and fiber come from. Visit to learn more.

Our current college students will be 55 in 2050 and can provide the other side of the solution to feed the world. An agriculture degree is the gateway to this challenge. A USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Purdue University study showed employers have 57,900 job openings in agriculture-related fields, but just 35,400 ag graduates to fill these positions. That’s a shortage of 22,500 graduates to fill the industry’s needs. The LSU College of Agriculture provides the majors and degrees for young adults to have that career to feed, clothe and house the world. Visit for details on a degree in agriculture.

Celebrate agriculture this week! You use agriculture three times a day when you eat your meals. If your clothes are made from cotton, wool or linen, you are wearing agriculture. If you live in a house framed up or built of wood, thank agriculture. Help us protect and grow the capacity to feed the world with an abundant, safe and affordable food supply.

This is your LSU AgCenter — visit a local office or for research-based information on just about anything.

Bill Richardson, LSU Vice President for Agriculture and Dean, LSU College of Agriculture

3/15/2016 1:33:00 PM
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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture