As millions of American families gather this week to celebrate the biggest food holiday of the year, CropLife America would like to remind everyone of the role modern agriculture plays in bringing Thanksgiving favorites like green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie to the dinner table. U.S. farmers grew 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins and 1.9 billion pounds of green beans this year, according to data released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS predicted that farmers will raise 254 million turkeys and harvest 47 billion pounds of potatoes in the coming year.
Modern agriculture helps farmers grow an impressive harvest of fruits and vegetables that bring together Thanksgiving recipes and contribute to a healthy lifestyle all year long. Another noticeable benefit of modern agriculture practices shows up on grocery store receipts, especially as consumers shop for enough food to satisfy large family gatherings. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) states in its annual report on the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner that a traditional meal for 10 has increased by only 28 cents this year. The average cost of the meal, is $49.48, an increase of 1 percent compared to last year’s cost of $49.20. Many items in AFBF’s report, such as sweet potatoes, fresh cranberries and green peas, cost slightly less this year. You can read more about the report on AFBF’s website.
AFBF’s findings further illuminate the positive impacts of modern agriculture in alleviating the effects of the 2012 drought. Technology employed by U.S. farmers in 2012—such as GPS-driven precision farm equipment, advanced plant genetics and the wise use of crop protection products—helped support crop yields despite harsh conditions. The cost of many items on the Thanksgiving dinner menu would have risen steeply without these modern ag defenses against drought.
More information on modern agriculture’s impact on the holiday season is available in this CLA news release.