INTRODUCTION

Agriculture has made a tremendous contribution to the quality of life. It is not just an industry, it is the foundation of our civilization. Agriculture provides the basic essentials for living: the food we eat, the beverages we drink, the clothing we wear, and the materials for our homes. Without agriculture, we would have none of these. Agriculture also provides us with many of our traditions and values. We celebrate agriculture by attending food festivals, visiting farms and wineries, planting gardens, and watching our favorite cooking shows on television. In the United States, consumers are fortunate to have a food supply that is affordable, safe, plentiful, flavorful, nutritious, and convenient. Thanks to agriculture, we can enjoy a bounty of food.

Agriculture plays a valuable role in our everyday lives by not only providing us with food, but also by maintaining a strong economy. On a worldwide basis, more people are in some way involved in agriculture than in all other occupations combined. Agriculture is on the frontlines of nearly all urgent global challenges, from hunger to climate change to rising inequality. Investment in agriculture has an important poverty-reduction effect especially amongst the poorest people.