While this Thanksgiving might not turn out to be quite as traditional as years past, it’s been proven that family traditions are exactly what we need to feel safe and comforted during times of unrest and concern. Thankfully, we are united in our belief that gratitude for our bounty of food matters even more this year.
Even with all the surprises 2020 has given us, we can still choose to be grateful, especially at Thanksgiving, a holiday that dates back an estimated 400 years. This American tradition is timed in late fall to celebrate when farmers have finished harvesting crops from their fields. And that’s certainly the case right here in South Dakota, as our 12,500 farmers have harvested our state’s more than 4 million acres of corn, which adds up to 752 million bushels.
We Gather Together
After all, Thanksgiving is all about gathering . . . of food and family. Together, we stuff ourselves with a big meal of turkey with all the trimmings, maybe watch some football, probably take a nap (don’t blame the turkey!), and then find a way to eat more leftovers later — pass the pie, please! What’s not to love about a holiday focused on food, family and gratitude?
These rituals are valuable to our culture and strengthen our connection with others. Cherished memories are made and celebrated in these simplest of ways. And when times are tough, we lean on our traditions to guide us through.
A Time for New Traditions
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might not be able to gather as many family or friends around your table this year. You might not be traveling to visit parents or grandparents in hopes of protecting their health. Yet maybe you’ll save them a spot at the table and use today’s technology like FaceTime or Zoom so you can all be safely “together” for this holiday.
Hugs may not happen as easily and face masks may hide some smiles, but the reason for these precautions is intended to protect our most vulnerable loved ones. We want them to be here to celebrate at Christmas next month and for many more holidays to come.
Farming is Rooted in Tradition
Like many of our most-beloved holidays, farming is built on tradition. At this time of year, farmers can celebrate that harvest is finally complete. It allows farm families to give thanks for a safe, successful harvest season. As the last bushels are counted and the machinery is stored away for winter, it’s a time to reflect on the year and begin planning for the next growing season.
Thank Farmers for Food (& More)
As global demand grows along with world population, America’s farmers have risen to the challenge. Back in 1960, the average farmer produced enough to feed 26 people. A decade ago, a farmer fed 155 people a year. Today, each U.S. farm can feed 166 people annually!
To match population forecasts, the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70% more food than what is now produced. And some of that production boost will need to come from nearly 30,000 South Dakota operations. Overall, about 98% of all farms are operated by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.
While 2020 has brought us many changes and challenges, what has not changed is that American families still have access to a safe, abundant and affordable supply of food. That’s thanks to the farmers and their families who work hard to make that happen, whether it’s during a holiday, pandemic, or blizzard.
South Dakota Corn wishes everyone a safe and abundant Thanksgiving 2020 holiday. Please follow recommended health guidelines to protect all our loved ones and prevent further community spread.
Your Feast of Choice
While the American Farm Bureau survey estimates 88% of you will serve a traditional turkey, half of all families opt for ham as well, giving everyone a choice . . . or a chance to have both!
When meal planning the Thanksgiving feast, you have an abundance of choice. Frozen or fresh? Whole bird or breast only? It’s easy to find the food that meets your own family’s standards by looking for the USDA Grade A shield or certified organic label.
We can’t help you with the harder questions such as how many pounds to feed everyone, and with enough extra for the desired days of leftovers? Whether to roast, smoke, grill, or fry the bird? And then there’s the long list of sides you could serve!
Campbell’s admits that almost all of us will serve green-bean casserole, yet the battles between stuffing and dressing, or sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes live on. At least everyone knows that corn is the best vegetable of all (Okay, we may be a bit biased!).
It’s a well-known fact that families should not discuss politics at the holiday table but trying to vote for just ONE favorite pie to serve can also lead to heated discussions. Usually, the best option is just that — OPTIONS!
When you go grocery shopping, you can opt for organic, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, free-range, grass-fed — all these choices are available because today’s American farmers provide a wide variety of food for the way your family chooses to eat. Thank a South Dakota farmer for a food supply that is safe, abundant and affordable, even in this year of unexpected challenges.