As I sit down with my family at Thanksgiving this year, I will look around at all the food laid out in front of me. Mom’s mashed potatoes. Grandma’s pumpkin pie. Aunt’s green bean casserole. All prepared with love for us. But how did it get here? With the hard work by the agricultural industry. U.S. Farmers worked to provide the food in front of me and you. As you sit down to eat, here are five farm facts that will inspire both you and me to be more thankful for the food before us.


1) The agricultural industry employs more than 21 million American workers , which is 15 percent of the total U.S. workforce. A lot of people with a lot of family.

2) Today’s American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide. This is compared to 25.8 people in 1960. How many people are in your family?

cranberries3) A barrel of cranberries weighs 100 pounds, and there are about 450 cranberries in a pound. So how many cranberries are in a gallon of juice? Approximately 4,400 cranberries. Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberries.

4) Illinois is the number 1 pumpkin state where Morton, IL is the Pumpkin capital of the world. This means that Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state. You can thank them for Grandma’s pumpkin pie.

5) Farmers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food. The remaining part of the dollar goes towards expenses beyond the farm gate that include costs in production, processing, marketing, transportation, and distribution. This number has fallen in the last 35 years from 31 cents in 1980. Farmers do a lot of work for little return.

Farmers helped put the food before us during one of the biggest meals of the year and every other day of year. Thank a farmer for your


Bonus: I don’t think anyone doesn’t know who won the World Series this year. The Cubs broke their 108-year losing streak with a World Series Win this year. But did you know that one pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn? There are 150 yards (450 feet) of wool yarn in a baseball… That’s a 117 baseballs. Thank a sheep for the winning out.

maxley_jaylynnJaylynn Maxley
University of Illinois

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