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Farmers need to be thanked on Thanksgiving

Without producers, bountiful meals are impossible

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Families throughout the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving this week, surrounded by friends, family and tables full of food.

And as people share what they’re thankful for, farmers should be at the top of the list. Because without farmers to produce the food that ends up on dinner tables, Thanksgiving would look very different.

If someone wanted to scour the country for key Thanksgiving dinner ingredients, which states would they visit?

It’s no surprise that turkey is the star of many Thanksgiving meals, and Minnesota is the top producer in the United States. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, Minnesota produced 41 million of the country’s 233 million turkeys in 2015 – that’s nearly 18 per cent!

If potatoes are part of Thanksgiving fare, look no further than Idaho. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, farmers in the state are expected to produce 139.3 million cwt. of potatoes in 2016. Harvested acres are also forecasted to increase 2,000 over 2015 figures to 324,000 acres.

If cranberries make their way to dinner tables this Thanksgiving, there’s a good chance they came from Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin-Madison says, since 1995, Wisconsin has produced about 57 per cent of the total cranberries in the U.S. The USDA estimates Wisconsin will produce more than five million barrels of cranberries in 2016 – one barrel weighs 100 pounds.

If carrots end up on the plate, they may have come from California. According to the USDA’s Vegetables 2015 Summary, California harvested 63,000 acres of carrots in 2015 for a total of $638,631,000 in production.

Whatever ends up on plates for Thanksgiving meals, farmers need to be recognized for their roles in making those beautiful dinners possible.

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