With less than 2% of America’s population engaged in producing the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and, increasingly, the fuel that powers our cars and trucks, the average American may find it easy to forget how blessed we are to have the world’s most abundant, affordable, nutritious, and safe food supply. It is just as easy to categorize “agriculture” simply as cows and plows. However, while agriculture and the people involved in it are hard-working and industrious, they are not nearly so easy to stereotype as the historical definition would have you believe.
Agriculture is much more than producing crops and raising livestock. Agriculture is: science, education, transportation, trade, food safety, conservation, family, Cooperative Extension, seeds, pest control, national security, restaurants, Mom’s kitchen, banking, clothing, benchmarking, irrigation, sale barns, human health, fuel, fiber, climate variability mitigation, biotechnology, wildlife, nutrition, wetlands, food aid, rural development, forestry, energy, futures markets, food security, technology, manufacturing, a safe environment, and, of course, apple pie.
In other words, if you eat it, wear it, drive it, medicate with it, drink it, read it, or breathe it, you and your family are benefitting from the broader agricultural enterprise.
Cornerstone Government Affairs has been honored to represent many of the entities that make agriculture the very foundation of the American idea, and our Ag Team, all of whom have strong roots in “traditional” agriculture, take great pride in working for and with some of the most innovative and important people in America. In fact, we would argue that agriculture is not only a key foundation in America’s past and future, but an equally key foundation in Cornerstone’s foundation and future.
Over the past 15 years, we have been honored to do our small part in helping to feed, fuel and clothe the world. For example, we have worked with Congress and America’s land-grant universities to enhance the federal/state partnership by creating USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In turn, we have seen increased investment in agricultural research, extension and education, investments that underpin our current and future competitiveness. In fact, many would argue that a modest investment in science, in an effort to reduce the cause of problems, will be the only way we can reduce the need for substantial federal funding that only addresses the results of problems.
We have also had the pleasure of working with policy makers and clients to secure successes on a multitude of fronts not normally associated with agriculture: Creating a pilot program for high protein Greek yogurt in school nutrition programs; partnering with environmental, labor and ag chemical organizations to maintain a science based pesticide registration program at EPA; modernizing payment options for livestock auctions; and securing funding for the elimination of pests and diseases that impact wine-grape growers.
At the end of the day, the Cornerstone family has been blessed with having the opportunity to work on behalf of hundreds of clients and causes that impact the lives of countless Americans and their brethren around the world. And while the Ag Team has the pleasure of working on behalf of every practice group and issue set in the Cornerstone universe, we might admit to a slight bias towards those that impact the lives of every American, every day – those that feed, fuel and clothe the world.
After all, Ag is America.