Where do the supplies come from that are made into the things we eat, wear, and use every day? The raw materials come from Earth’s natural, renewable resources through the work of farmers and growers. These raw materials go through a number of changes from raw product to final form. After all, a handful of wheat kernels or a hunk of wool freshly shorn from a sheep wouldn’t do us much good in their raw forms.
Most agriculture systems have 6 steps:
Growing or raising plants and animals. To do that, farmers use seeds, soil, sunlight, water, fertilizers, vitamins and minerals, and feed. These are the inputs that are needed for farmers to grow produce and animals.
The process of changing the raw materials into outputs we eat, wear, and use.
Getting the processed products to places like grocery stores and farm markets.
Advertising agricultural products in places like TV and radio ads, magazines and newspapers, and the internet to help people know about them.
Using or eating the final products.
Putting unused or waste products into recycling, compost, or garbage processes.
While most raw materials go through all these steps, some spend more time in processing than others. Why do you think that is? Which takes more time: grain between the field and your cereal box and bread, or carrots between the field and your salad bowl? What about your quarter-pound burger? It started out as a thousand-pound steer eating grass, corn, and soybean meal. Your bread began as “amber waves of grain” and your wooden hockey stick as a tree.