5 farmers to thank on Thanksgiving

Posted on Nov 20, 2013
cyndie_sirekis_2006Web_reasonably_smallCyndie Sirekis is director of news services at the American Farm Bureau Federation. 

The American Farm Bureau’s annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table is much-anticipated. This year the cost for the feast came in at $49.04, a 44-cent price decrease from last year’s average of $49.48.

Comparing notes on the cost of the meal, favorite recipes and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats are time-honored traditions of the holiday. If you’re interested in establishing a new tradition this Thanksgiving, consider thanking a farmer, either in person or through social media.

Tweets, pins and posts declaring #foodthanks from farms, supermarkets and dinner tables are popping up online for the fourth year in a row. Conversations from social media channels are posted to http://www.foodthanks.com and share a focus on giving to those in need during the holiday season.

Below, learn more about five farmers worthy of thanks—they play a big role in producing the food that graces our groaning Thanksgiving tables.

1. Turkey farmer

Tim Nilsen, a turkey farmer and Farm Bureau member in California, keeps the big birds safe and comfortable in state-of-the-art barns on his family’s farm. Watch his YouTube video to find out how and why he does this.

During the last three decades, turkey farming has evolved from a single-product, holiday-oriented business into a fully integrated industry with a diversified line of protein products available on a year-round basis. And consumption is growing, more than doubling since 1970. In 2012, per capita consumption of turkey was 16 pounds.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.

2. Fruit/vegetable farmer

The typical Thanksgiving feast would be sad indeed without fruits and vegetables. Luscious pumpkin pie and tangy-sweet cranberry dishes top the list of favorite fruit options. Veggie dishes also abound with potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, carrots, celery, corn and green beans among the delectable options.

3. Wheat farmer

Although cornbread or rice dressing may have a place at the table, wheat is number one when it comes to ingredients used to make dinner rolls and stuffing for Thanksgiving.

Did you know that one bushel of wheat produces about 42 pounds of flour, which can be used to make 42 loaves of bread? One bushel of whole wheat yields even more­—64 pounds of flour to make 64 loaves of bread.

4. Dairy farmer

Butter, milk and whipped cream shine at Thanksgiving but most of us spend little time thinking about how these delicious dairy options make it from the farm to our tables.

McDonald’s recently released a video featuring dairy farmers. The video highlights the dedication of dairy farmers and their families in keeping America fed, noting: “We’re proud to be your partners.” The video points out that the hard work of dairy farming starts hours before the sun rises and ends long after it sets.

5. Local farmer

Some farmers sell the value-added foods they produce directly to consumers, through CSA subscriptions or at farm stands or one of the nation’s 7,800 farmers’ markets. If you live in an area with access to local farmers, take a few minutes this holiday season to expression your appreciation.

Tagged Post Topics Include: California, Dairy, Eat Local, Foodthanks, fruit, Holiday, National Turkey Federation, Thanksgiving, Tim Nilsen, Turkey, Vegetable, Wheat