As you enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings—either as you sit down to eat or as you dive into leftovers—I hope you took a moment to give thanks for the men and women in agriculture across our great country that made your meal possible. Explore these agriculture statistics about the ways and means of your Thanksgiving meal and then pass them around next time you’re gathered about the table.
The U.S. is the world’s top turkey producer, and we export many turkeys, but we also consume more turkey than any other country. According to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Americans ate 16.4 pounds of turkey per person in 2012. Your Thanksgiving turkey was likely raised in Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri or Virginia.
The Stuffing and Other Breads
Stuffing, rolls, and the flour used in your pie crust is likely made from wheat. Hard red winter wheat that goes to making bread is grown in the Great Plains in states like Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.
Mashed Potatoes and More
Most Thanksgiving tables include potatoes cooked in some way; mashed potatoes being the most popular option. It’s one of the most important food crop worldwide and the leading vegetable crop in the U.S. The potatoes for your Thanksgiving dinner likely came from Idaho or Washington.
This nutritious tuber that you used for sweet potato pie, casserole and more likely came from North Carolina, where they produce just over half of all the sweet potatoes in the U.S., according to a 2015 NPR report. Other sweet potato producers include California, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Apple and Pumpkin Pies
Most of us buy canned pumpkin for our Thanksgiving pies, and that means that it likely came from within a 90-mile radius of Peoria, Illinois, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Illinois grows 95 percent of the pumpkins used for processing. As for apples, if they didn’t come from China, then they might have come from Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and more!
There are many other ag products that are traditionally used for Thanksgiving dinner, from the green beans in your favorite casserole to the eggs in your biscuits to the corn syrup and sugar that sweetened and hold your pies together. If you are thankful for one thing this holiday season, let it be our nations’ ag producers!