For many of our farmers, wheat is not simply an income — it’s a lifestyle, a history and a part of the family. Many wheat farmers were raised on wheat, and the passion to cultivate this crop is inherent and passed down through generations. From the simple machinery of your great-grandparents to the digital agriculture of this era, the wheat industry has evolved dramatically. Despite the evolutions, or perhaps because of them, wheat has always and will continue to play an integral role in the day-to-day lives of people all over the world.
As we wrap up another harvest season and look back with pride on the success of our wheat yields we celebrate the heritage, history and pride unique to this crop with a series of facts that you may not know about the amber grain that plays a key role in your life.
1. Wheat is a staple crop and food source for millions of people in cultures around the world. It provides about 20 percent of calories consumed by the human race.1
2. It has been cultivated for thousands of years around the world and can be traced back to origins in the Middle East.1
3. Wheat was first planted in the United States as a hobby crop in 1777.2
4. Wheat is grown in all but eight states in the U.S., with Kansas and North Dakota alternating as the leading producer of wheat.2
5. Each year, Kansas alone produces enough wheat to bake 36 billion loaves of bread.2
6. As one of the most agronomically adaptable crops, wheat is capable of growing in a multitude of locations and environmental conditions. It can thrive at sea level as well as in Tibet, at nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, and is grown on every continent except Antarctica.3
7. Wheat is grown on over 540,000,000 acres around the world. That’s enough wheat to fill the state of Texas more than three times!3
8. As a food source, wheat goes a long way. A single bushel of wheat can yield 60 lbs. of whole wheat flour or 73 loaves of bread.3
9. Wheat is not only used as a food source. It’s an ingredient in paper, medical swabs, hair conditioner and even charcoal.1