It’s no secret that the past two years have tested Kansans as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged our communities. But it’s no secret that we Kansans are resilient and our state’s motto is Ad Astra Per Aspera – to the stars through hardship.
These trying times amplify the gratitude Americans will feel as they come together with friends and family for the upcoming Thanksgiving – a holiday that would not be possible without the Kansas farmer who continues to face turbulent times since the onset of COVID.
As the harvest comes to an end, we know the struggles aren’t over, but neither are our Kansas spirit, tradition, and resilience. Throughout the pandemic, our farmers and ranchers never took a day off, nor did truck drivers, food processors, grocery store workers, food safety inspectors and all of our other staff. essential who ensured store shelves were stocked and food was available. They fought to feed America and the world.
So, as you sit down with your families for Thanksgiving, remember to thank all the farmers and ranchers in Kansas who make this meal and every meal possible.
The enduring efforts of the Kansas agriculture industry will be showcased on plates across the country in the form of entrees, sides and desserts. Traditionally, many Americans choose turkey as the centerpiece of their Thanksgiving meal, but what you might not know is that our state has several turkey farmers who raise about 1 million turkeys a year. That said, it’s also true that in Kansas cattle are king and many people can forgo traditional turkey for beef. There are approximately 27,000 cattle farms and ranches in Kansas that contribute more than $ 8 billion to the Kansas economy.
As for wheat, whether it’s hot buns or stuffing, remember our local wheat growers as it’s more than likely to be made from flour grown and ground right here in Kansas. . After all, any day of the year our State is considered the State of Wheat thanks to our brave ancestors who farmed the land centuries ago and brought hard red winter wheat into that part of the world. Today, Kansas farmers produce about 364 million bushels of wheat per year, making us the nation’s leading wheat-producing state.
As for the other elements of your Thanksgiving meal, I doubt sweet potatoes are missing thanks to the 50 or so farms in Kansas that grew them in 2017. As for that side salad, there are about 500 farms across Kansas that have grown lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, spinach and more. vegetables in 2017. If you plan to add bacon pieces to garnish your salad, you’ll be interested to know that Kansas ranks 10th in the country for pork production – producing over 600 million pounds of pork that helps feed millions of people in the United States and abroad.
Whether it’s cheese for a side dish, butter and milk to mix into your pie shell, or ice cream for dessert, dairy products are essential to making Thanksgiving a memorable one. Kansas has one of the fastest growing dairy herds in the country and our dairy farmers produced 4 billion pounds of milk last year.. We have about 170,000 dairy cows in Sunflower State and each of those cows produces about 7.55 gallons of milk per day, or over 2,755 gallons of milk in a typical year..
Did you know we have over 200 apple farms in Kansas for these apple pies? Of course, anyone who’s visited the nearest pumpkin patch knows that Kansas is a great place to grow pumpkins for those pies, too. In fact, in Kansas we have over 130 farms that grow pumpkins. However, special kudos are due to Calvin Beeson of Clyde for breaking the Kansas State Fair record with his gigantic 1,127.2-pound pumpkin this year. This pumpkin was growing 20 to 30 pounds per day and certainly required a lot of care to reach its full potential.
As you can see, Kansas is home to some of the staples on your plate. As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal, thank our bountiful harvest and all those vital workers along the agricultural supply chain who made our meals possible.
Roger Marshall is a United States Senator from Kansas.