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56914

Women in Agriculture: No Farms - No Super Bowl

Today a little football game called the Super Bowl will be played for the 50th time.  If it weren’t for agriculture, millions of people would have to find another way to spend their Sunday afternoon.
How does agriculture impact Super Bowl 50, which will crown either the Denver Broncos or North Carolina Panthers king?
The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium.  Located on a former peach orchard, the owners suites were built with 100% reclaimed wood.  The stadium works with local suppliers to feature farm-to-table menus at concession stands.
 
The stadium bears the name of the first maker of blue jeans, which are made of cotton denim. Jeans have made the news this year, thanks to the pants Carolina quarterback Cam Newton wore when he arrived in California for the game.
Made by Versace, the Accent Print Jeans in Yellow Zebraprint sell for $849. Those are sold out, but similar styles are made of 98% cotton.
 
We don’t grow cotton, so I checked with a friend who does, and they sold cotton in 2015 for an average $0.52 per pound. Just out of curiosity, I weighed a pair of my jeans this morning. They registered zero on the scale. I’m not a math genius, but if cotton sold for $0.52 per pound and less than 1 pound is used to make a pair of jeans that could be sold for $895, then someone is making one heck of a profit – and it’s not the farmer.
I bet a good majority of the 68,500 seats will be filled with fans wearing cotton clothes. They got in the game by showing a paper ticket made from trees – no electronic tickets for the Super Bowl.
Money changes hands, whether in the purchase of tickets (average price in 2015 is $5,134), food, or the loss of a bet. Did you know 75% of that dollar bill you just used to tip the pizza delivery guy is made of cotton?
Speaking of pizza, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day for pizza. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), Pizza Hut will sell over 2 million pizzas. IN ONE DAY.  I’m not sure about Papa John’s, the official pizza of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a franchise owner, but I think it’s safe to say tomorrow will be its biggest sales day. What would pizza be without wheat, dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables, all grown or raised by farmers?
The National Chicken Council estimates 1.3 billion chicken wings will be eaten Sunday. Where’s the beef?  How about 14 billion hamburgers in 2015, according to agweb.com. The National Pork Board estimates over 12 million pounds of bacon will be eaten tomorrow. Don’t forget the potato chips, popcorn, meatballs, and other munchies gracing tables across the country.
 
Gotta wash that food down with something, and the NRA says 51.7 million cases of beer are sold every year during Super Bowl weekend. Agweb.com says 1 bushel of barley, grown by farmers, will make 565 12-ounce beers.
Now that we are dressed and fed, let’s see how agriculture affects the game itself.  The turf in Levi’s Stadium is actual bermuda grass, as opposed to artificial turf, grown by a turf farmer.
The earliest football uniforms were made of wool, which is shorn from sheep, not grown in a field. The wool was durable and held up to the physical play.  Helmets today are made with polycarbonate, but the first helmets worn by players were made of soft leather.
Leather is also used to make the ball. Even thought it’s often called a pigskin, footballs are actually made of cowhide. Wilson is the official supplier of footballs for the NFL: 120 of its footballs will be used in Sunday’s game. One cowhide will make 10 footballs.  Not just any cowhide is used . . . it comes from cattle grown in Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska.
Whether it’s the stadium, the field, the ball, or the food one thing is clear - No Farms, No Super Bowl.  

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