National Agriculture Week, March 21-27, is a time to celebrate today’s agriculture, and this year the Clayton County Farm Bureau especially wants to highlight the value “Real Farmers. Real Food. Real Meat.” brings to the local community.
“In our county, we have a diversity of family farms who raise grains, cattle, pigs and chickens,” says Erling Bilden, Clayton County Farm Bureau president. “As farmers, we are proud to raise animals using the best husbandry practices while respecting our shared environment. If there’s one thing I want our neighbors to know, it’s when you bite into a juicy cut of meat, it was raised with care.”
Experts at Iowa State University (ISU) acknowledge the role animal proteins play in the human diet. “Animal protein continues to be important because it is a high-quality or ‘complete’ protein containing all the essential amino acids. Pork, for example, contains one of the highest amounts of protein per serving and provides needed minerals like selenium, zinc and iron and vitamins B12, B6, thiamin and niacin,” says Dr. Ruth MacDonald, chair of the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Not only are animal proteins an optimal way to fuel the body, but they add value to the local community with livestock production in Clayton County making up 27 percent of local jobs. This includes not just farmers but construction workers who build barns, truckers who transport livestock, veterinarians who aid in promoting animal health and many more. And many of these people add intrinsic value to the local community through volunteerism and leadership.
“We appreciate when people buy products that are raised right here in Iowa, but agriculture is about more than raising nutritious food and by products like fuel and fiber,” says Bilden. “It’s about being a good neighbor and building up our local village to ensure our community is prosperous and a place people are happy to call home.”