WASHINGTON — President Reagan saluted small farmers in the United States and around the world Friday as part of a global observance of World Food Day.
"No group of Americans is more deserving of this country's respect and gratitude," Reagan said in a statement broadcast at ceremonies at the Department of Agriculture.
World Food Day is observed every year on the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This year's observance saluted small farmers, and the Agriculture Department focused particularly on the role of historically black universities in fostering the survival of American small farmers.
Of the 2.2 million farmers in the United States, 600,000 of them farm less than 50 acres, Reagan said. The most recent census recorded a 17% increase in the number of small farms, a trend which appears to be continuing, he said.