As we honor our mothers on Sunday, May 10, let us ponder the obligations parents assume when they bring children in the world. Unlike formal business relationships, there are no written contracts, but the expectations are clear — parents commit to do their best to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate their children until they become self-sufficient adults.
It is no accident that feeding one’s children comes first on that list, as eating is the most crucial to sustaining their lives. In their efforts to fulfill that responsibility, mothers and fathers have key allies — America’s farmers and ranchers.
In 2013, it was estimated that 14.3 percent of U.S. households were food insecure, meaning that there was at least some time during the year when they lacked access to enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even those families receiving benefits from federal programs such as SNAP and WIC often struggle to put food on the table. In fact, almost half of all SNAP recipients are children.
Farmers and ranchers work long hours each day to produce food for 310 million Americans as well as feeding hundreds of millions living in other countries. Most farmers rely on their spouses to be the backbone of the family — to pay the bills, take the kids to school and practice, participate in PTA, wash clothes, buy groceries, prepare meals, and help with kids’ homework when needed. In fact, many moms are farmers themselves — more than 30 percent of U.S. farm operators are women. Some farm wives also have an in-town job that helps secure health insurance for the entire family.
On this Mother’s Day, America’s farmers salute their partners in safeguarding U.S. food and nutrition security — their helpmates, and the mothers of the 73 million children who constitute this nation’s future.
Kassi Tom Rowland
Farm Journal Foundation – Indiana Farm Team