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U.S. farmers gearing up for Thanksgiving

U.S. farmers gearing up for Thanksgiving

Families are looking forward to celebrating together

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

American families are preparing to host or attend Thanksgiving events this weekend.

With that at top of mind, connected with some farmers to discuss their Thanksgiving plans and what they’re thankful for.

Melissa Harrop, a cash crop and livestock producer from Chester County, Penn., celebrates the holiday with two different families.

First, there’s her immediate family, which includes her husband, Paul, and their three children, Coleman, Cameron and Ellie.

Between the five of them and other family members, Harrop expects her house to be full this weekend.

“We are having extended family over to stay the night,” she told “We’re going to have just about every family member we can fit in this house, taking up probably every room.”

This will mark the first time some members larger family has been able to get together since before the pandemic.

Having everyone around the table will be a welcomed sight, Harrop said.

“This is going to be the first time some people have been here for a holiday dinner in about five years,” she said. “It’s going to be a great day of fellowship, being together, catching up and good quality time being thankful for one another.”

Harrop also has a military family.

A U.S. Army veteran herself, her eldest son, Coleman, a marine, recently returned from duty in Afghanistan at the Kabul airport.

She is thankful her son, and other members of his unit, have made it safely back on U.S. soil.

“We’re so thankful that he’s okay and that his unit is okay,” she said.

Harrop and other military moms keep in touch on Facebook. She’s thankful for the friendships she’s made through the shared experiences of being a military parent.

“We email each other to check in with one another to make sure everyone is okay,” she said. “They feel like additional members of our family and I’m so grateful to be a part of these different communities and to realize how much I care for them.”

Pat Swanson, a producer from Wapello County, Iowa, is also preparing for Thanksgiving festivities.

This weekend, she’ll take a moment to give thanks for her family’s health, which includes her husband Don and their children, Jake and Erica, and a grandson.

“I think with COVID we all realize how important good health is,” she told “So, we’re definitely thankful that we are all healthy.”

From a farming perspective, Swanson is thankful for a good harvest and commodity prices.

“Our harvest was safe and bountiful beyond what we expected,” she said. “I know commodity prices go up and down all the time, but they seem to be pretty stable right now and that’s something all farmers can be thankful for.”

This weekend looks to be full of family visits for the Swanson family too.

Between visits with immediate family, Pat’s extended family and Don’s extended family, it’ll be a celebratory weekend.

“We didn’t have our big family gatherings last year, so we’re excited to get together and spend time with each other,” Pat said.

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