Let’s Talk Turkey, Thanksgiving and Traditions

Thanksgiving may look different in 2020, but farmers are still the focus.
Thanksgiving may look different in 2020, but farmers are still the focus.
(Farm Journal)

Thanksgiving may look different in 2020, but farmers are still the focus

As the frantic pace of harvest winds down, we can reflect on another season of abundant effort. The vital work of farmers and ranchers is not always easy — as we saw in 2020. Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to remember despite challenges, we all have many reasons to be grateful. 

For many, Thanksgiving 2020 will stray from tradition. Nearly 70% of Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving differently this year, according to a recent consumer survey by research firm Numerator. Big gatherings will likely be broken into several smaller ones, which should still mean healthy demand the country’s turkey producers, says Beth Breeding, National Turkey Federation vice president of communications and marketing.

“There’s something very comforting about that Thanksgiving meal with the turkey at the center of the table,” she says. “There could even be an increase in turkey sales because of additional gatherings.”

The change in the size of gatherings could cause demand for smaller turkeys or cuts or parts such as whole breasts. Breeding says the popularity of kitchen tools such as Instant Pots and air fryers have already increased consumer demand and familiarity with these forms of turkey.

“We also expect to see a lot more first timers this year, who have never prepared the Thanksgiving meal before, have a go at preparing turkey,” Breeding says. “Everyone is cooking so much more at home.”

As you prepare for your Thanksgiving celebration, brush up on your knowledge about the traditional holiday dishes:

  • Turkeys: The U.S. is No. 1 in global turkey production.
  • Potatoes: The U.S. ranks fifth in global potato production. North Carolina is the leading sweet potato producing state, while Idaho grows the most white potatoes.
  • Cranberries: The U.S. is No. 1 in global cranberry production. Wisconsin leads the U.S. in production.
  • Pecans: The U.S. is No. 1 in global pecan production. New Mexico leads the U.S. in pecan production.
  • Pumpkins: The U.S. is fifth in global pumpkin production. Illinois leads the U.S. in pumpkin production.

Sources: USDA, National Turkey Federation

Join AgDay and U.S. Farm Report on Thanksgiving as they pay tribute to the amazing work and stories throughout America's countryside in the annual “Harvest of Thanks” special.



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