By Amanda Hill

Last Saturday, I had the rare occasion of a day at home—with no plans. In my new-found “free” time, I ended up watching a “”Modern Marvels” marathon on the History Channel with episodes about corn, milk and soybean production. Agriculture really is a modern marvel, and it’s amazing to me what farmers and ranchers do to make sure the shelves of my local grocery store are stocked.

In the spirit of “Modern Marvels,” here are 10 modern marvels about agriculture:

  1. One farmer grows enough food to feed 155 Americans for a whole year. In 1960, that number was less than 26.
  2. Each year, farmers and ranchers sell $1.2 billion in produce, meat, cheese, baked goods and other items direct to consumers through farmers’ markets and other outlets. The marvel? That’s only 0.4 percent of total agricultural sales!
  3. Farmers grow 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs—including labor, seed, feed and fertilizer—than they did in 1950.
  4. In Texas, most farms are owned and run by families. There are 247,437 family farms in the Lone Star State.
  5. Americans spend 10 percent of their disposable income on food. That’s pretty affordable, compared with 14 percent in Italy, 33 percent in China and 46 percent in Pakistan.
  6. Got milk? About 9 million cows produce the 21 billion gallons of milk that Americans drink each year.
  7. One bale of cotton can make 215 pairs of jeans, 690 towels or 1,217 t-shirts.
  8. Texas ranchers lead the nation in beef production, raising nearly 14 million cattle. The next in line is Kansas with 6.5 million.
  9. Agriculture is more than just food. One acre of soybeans can make 82,368 crayons. That’s a lot of coloring!
  10. A Texas farmer can plant between 150-300 acres of corn in one 12-14 hour day.

Agriculture truly is a modern marvel! For more fun ag facts, visit Texas Farm Bureau’s Be Ag Smart website,