Also in the water arena, an ongoing dispute between the United States and Mexico over a 1948 water treaty adds to concerns that water will continue to be the number one roadblock to agricultural growth and sustainability in the years ahead. As if that wasn’t enough, even sister states Texas and New Mexico are arguing over water rights on the Rio Grande River, and Texas rice growers are headed into a second year of water curtailment as the City of Austin vies for more acre-feet of Colorado River water for urban use and development.

Because of its proximity to Mexico, animal and crop producers in both Texas and New Mexico are facing increased food security risks as animal and plant diseases filter across the international border, often at the hands of illegal traffickers. In addition, Southwest cattle producers, chili pepper growers, and fruit and nut producers are facing stiff competition from Mexican and other Latin American agricultural operations.

But beyond the problems and challenges of the industry, agriculture remains the backbone of the Southwest’s economy, and as we prepare for the spring equinox this week and celebrate National Ag Week, we are reminded to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by farming and ranching efforts. Every year, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture, and no one should be more proud of agriculture’s contributions and success than the men and women and families who make it happen at the grass roots level.

Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. National Ag Day and National Ag Week are designed to build awareness about the significance of the industry and how it affects every life in every nation of the world.

Each American farmer feeds more than 144 people—a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. Simply put, American agriculture is doing more—and doing it better every year. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.

As we work our way into the new season and through this significant week, each of us should remember that we are part of a process that insures the health and welfare of all mankind. May we be bold and mindful to remind our family, friends and neighbors of the great service they receive from America’s oldest and most productive industry—agriculture.

Southwest Farm Press salutes the men, women and families that keep agriculture strong in America.

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