From farmpolicyfacts.org

When you sit down at the family dinner table this Thanksgiving and count your many blessings, be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the contributions of our nation’s farmers.

From the corn to the cranberries, and the sweet potatoes to the pumpkin pie, it is the hard work of farmers that make the meal possible.

Just look at the production numbers for some of the more popular Thanksgiving staples:

  • Sweet Corn: 7.4 billion pounds
  • Green Beans: 2 billion pounds
  • Cranberries: 1.3 billion pounds
  • Potatoes: 4.4 billion pounds
  • Pumpkin: 1.6 billion pounds
  • Sweet Potatoes: 3.2 billion pounds
  • Rice: 18 billion pounds

Impressive stats, for sure, but agriculture’s contribution hardly stops at the dinner table. It is also responsible for keeping our economy on the right track.

In fact, a recent study by industry groups found that more than a fifth of the U.S. economy and a quarter of American jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to the food and agriculture sectors.

“It begins in the rich soil of America’s farms and ranches – more than 2.1 million of them – spread across the heartland and stretching to the coasts, covering two out of every five American acres,” the study notes.

The study estimates that more than 43 million jobs and $1.9 trillion in total wages are linked to the two sectors, which contribute some $894 billion in taxes.

The food and agriculture sectors together account for $146 billion in exports, the study also found.

In all, the study places the two sectors’ total economic impact at a whopping $6.7 trillion.

As lawmakers continue to debate the Farm Bill, they would be well served to remember the extent of the contributions of our nation’s farmers, and work to preserve the farm policies that protect them and allow them to keep providing food and fiber for our nation and our world.

And we should all remember to be grateful for our nation’s farmers, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day, for bringing the food to our tables, and keeping us whole.