It All Starts with a Seed
It All Starts with a Seed
It’s no secret that Colorado is a highly desirable place to live; it has incredible views, 300 days of sunshine, majestic mountains for skiing & hiking, great people, a booming local economy, low humidity, local craft breweries galore, amazing professional sports teams, Colorado famous green chili, Red Rocks, and the list goes on and on so I’ll have to stop or there won’t be any room left on the page.
When I ended that list, I’m sure you kept thinking of things that Colorado is known for, and I’m gonna go ahead and bet that Colorado being a major player in the agriculture industry didn’t come to mind.
Most people don’t know that Colorado is huge in the ag industry. According to the 2012 USDA Census, Weld County is ranked the 9th largest agricultural producer in the United States. Yes, you read that right-9TH IN THE NATION, FOLKS. Weld County is also the top agricultural producing county outside of California. If you’re want more astonishing number based facts about agriculture in Weld County, I highly encourage you to visit weldgov.com.
For those of you who have no idea where Weld County is, it’s the largest county in Northern Colorado, is east of I-25, and Greeley is the county seat. It’s also filled with a lot of small towns that you’ve probably never heard of unless you’re from around the area. Some of these towns include Eaton, Evans, Ault, La Salle, Keenesburg, Hudson, Mead, Platteville, Gilcrest, Fort Lupton, etc. It’s pretty much Denver’s northern backyard and people have NO idea that it’s an agricultural empire.
There are 2.5 million acres in Weld County and over 3,000 farms located in it. The ag products produced in this county annually create over $1 billion in market value. Weld County is Colorado’s leading producer of beef cattle, wheat, sugar beets, and dairies. Some other major crops found throughout the county include corn, onions, dry beans, alfalfa/hay, leafy greens, cabbages, and grains.
If you’re thinking, why the hell should I care about farming?
Well I’ll tell you why- we lose 40 acres of agricultural used land, U.S. wide EVERY hour, according to the American Farmland Trust. Not to mention, the USDA 2012 Census states that only 2% of the U.S. population are farmers.
Now, not to get super apocalyptic on you, but our Colorado population is supposed grow more than 87% by 2050, and the United Nations projects that global population is going hit nearly 10 billion. Hunger will most likely be the 21st century’s most urgent problem with nearly a billion-people facing starvation. That is terrifying!
Now is the time that you should be *slightly panicking and asking “Well, how are we going to feed all those people when we’re losing so much agricultural used land every hour?”
I don’t really have an exact answer for you.
I know, not what you were expecting. I’m a recent college graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, my degree is in Marketing, and I just happened to fall into the ag industry by chance. BUT, my time in the ag industry working with Pawnee Buttes Seed Inc. suggests that we need to increase agriculture awareness, increase the number of millennial farmers, get rid of the stereotypical “image” of a farmer, practice sustainable agriculture, promote good land stewardship practices, encourage conservation, and spread overall education about the ag industry.
My goal with this new company blog series is to help educate people and spread awareness about the ag industry and conservation, and help build a bridge over the disconnect between growers and consumers. If you’re already heavily involved in the ag industry, my hope is that you learn something new or you’ll have some great idea that gets triggered from a topic I discuss. Either way, I hope all of you follow the blog because you can never have enough knowledge, especially in this diverse industry.
If you’ve researched Pawnee Buttes Seed Inc. you’ve probably noticed that we specialize in native grasses, forbs & shrubs, and reclamation (but offer SO much more like small grains, cover crops, alfalfa & legumes, organic seed, etc.).
You’re probably thinking, you’re specialized in GRASS…why are you concerned with ranching and farming? Well, we’re an agricultural business based in Weld County, we sell seed to a lot of the local farmers and ranchers, and owner/manager, Don Hijar is a firm believer in education and conservation so I’m going to do my small part and help spread some of that knowledge. Not to mention that grass plays a huge role in the ag industry, which you’ll learn about later in the blog series.
For every blog post in this series, I’ll be looking at different agricultural issues or topics and share what I’m learning with you. I would LOVE to get any feedback, comments, or even topic ideas from all of you!
Katelyn Garcia, Marketing Specialist