May 21, 2024

Giving thanks for family and farming

The Zipline

During the Thanksgiving holiday, some will be traveling a few miles down the road to gather with family and friends. Others may travel a few thousand miles across the country or across an ocean to reunite with loved ones.

But whether our journey is long or short, we’ll gather to enjoy a meal together and give thanks. We’ll give thanks for the hands that prepared the food and those who grew it, and we’ll give thanks for family near and far.

That recipe of family and fellowship is what makes Thanksgiving my favorite holiday — that and a hearty slice of pecan pie, of course.

My family will gather, like we do every Thanksgiving, in my grandfather’s barn for our holiday meal together.

I cannot keep count of how many Thanksgivings I’ve celebrated in that barn, but every holiday together is special — and even more so with each new generation that comes along.

Every year, I look up and look around and I give thanks. I am reminded of the generations who’ve come before us, and as I look around at my children and grandchildren, I am filled with hope for how they will carry on that legacy in the future, in whatever roles God calls them to, on or off the farm.

Gathering as a family for the holidays can be bittersweet, too. We remember those who are not with us at the table, whether we are separated for a time, or they have passed on before us.

I expect your family, like mine, will tell more than a few stories of loved ones we’re missing. We’ll laugh together over Granddad’s crazy antics over the years, and we’ll shed a tear when we miss Mama at the table.

But most of all, we will give thanks. We will give thanks for the memories, for family and for the blessings we enjoy in this country.

This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey shows the average price of a holiday meal to be down 4.5% from last year.

This Thanksgiving and all year long, I also give thanks for each of you, for the hard work farm and ranch families put in 365 days a year to ensure we have a safe, secure and sustainable food supply in this country.

We also continue to enjoy an affordable food supply here in the United States. Even with the pressures of inflation, Americans continue to spend a relatively low share of their paychecks on groceries, compared to other nations.

This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey shows the average price of a holiday meal to be down 4.5% from last year.

That’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing with inflation and food prices — the cost is still 25% higher than it was in 2019. The cost of farming is still high, too, due to supply costs, inflation and challenging weather.

All of which is a reminder of the importance of programs in the farm bill that keep our food supply secure and affordable for all Americans. And the importance of updating these programs in a new farm bill that reflects today’s realities.

Farmers work hard for our families and yours, each and every day. We are committed to doing right by the land and providing the best products we can for our families and yours.

Farmers step out in faith every year, not knowing what the year will bring, and it’s no accident that the celebration of Thanksgiving and harvest go hand in hand.

With all the unrest in the world, the challenges and tragedies, we are so fortunate to live in a country that cherishes freedom, enjoys abundance and defends democracy. We have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Zippy Duvall

Zippy Duvall

Zippy Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Georgia, is the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.