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Celebrating farmers on Thanksgiving

Celebrating farmers on Thanksgiving

Without producers, bountiful meals don’t exist

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

American families are gathering today for Thanksgiving.

As they sit around dinner tables surrounded by wonderful meals and share what they’re thankful for, it’s important to recognize where the food came from. Because without farmers, Thanksgiving would look very different.

So, rounds up the key states for traditional Thanksgiving meal ingredients?

A perfectly prepared turkey is the star of many Thanksgiving meals, and farmers in Minnesota are to thank for that.

Minnesota’s 450 turkey farmers produce about 49 million birds annually, Minnesota Turkey says. And the state turkey production generates about $US807 million in economic impact each year.

In 2017, U.S. producers raised about 244 million turkeys.

Nestled beside those turkey slices on the dinner plate may very well be a serving of potatoes. Idaho is the country’s leader in potato production.

Farmers in the state harvested 310,000 acres with an average yield of 435 cwt/acre in 2017, the USDA says. Total potato production in the state contributed more than $974 million to the local economy that year.

If cranberry sauce is part of the Thanksgiving meal, farmers in Wisconsin likely grew them.

Wisconsin farmers have led the U.S. in cranberry production since 1995, the University of Wisconsin-Madison says.

Producers harvested 20,600 acres of cranberries with an average yield of 259 barrels/acre in 2017, the USDA says. The agency valued cranberry production at more than US$156 million that year.

If carrots end up on the plate, they may have originated in California.

Farmers in the state harvested 58,500 acres of the root vegetable last year and achieved an average yield of 370 cwt/acre. Total carrot production in the state was worth more than US$635 million that year.

Pecan pie is a mainstay dessert in the Thanksgiving season.

Farmers in Georgia and Texas alternate between being the top producers, the Tularosa Pecan Company says.

Texas farmers harvested 89,000 acres of pecans in 2017 with an average yield of 427 lbs./acre, the USDA says. The federal ag department valued the total state production at more than US$85 million.

That same year, Georgia pecan farmers harvested 120,000 acres and averaged 892 lbs./acre. The USDA valued total state production at more than US$256 million.


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