This is passed on by Western Growers and Tom Nassif; a well put tribute to farmers on Thanksgiving ....

From Tom Nassif:


Thank a Farmer This Thanksgiving

Admit it, regardless of family, friends and football games, Thanksgiving is very much about the food: turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans with onions, candied yams, carrots and peas, green salad, fresh hot buttered rolls, pumpkin pie, and cranberry dressing. The words themselves are enough to make your mouth water. So after we thank the Lord for the “bounty of the harvest,” I’m sure our minds, and stomachs will be focused on eating to full satisfaction.

And what a bounty it has become since the first settlers came as pilgrims to these shores. Each of those original pilgrims was a farmer -- confirming Teddy Roosevelt’s observation: “When this nation began its independent existence, it was as a nation of farmers .” Today, while less than two percent of our population works or lives on a farm, the bounty they produce in the form of crop yields has never been higher. In 1960, one U.S. farmer grew enough to feed 26 people, and a typical family spent 25 percent of its household income on food. This year, one farmer will grow enough for 155 people but will still use less water, less fertilizer and fewer pesticides than he or she did on about the same amount of land fifty years ago. And because of this extraordinary productivity, American households spend only 10 percent of their income on food. I think that’s something to be grateful for.

When blessings are being counted out on Thanksgiving Day, it would be more than appropriate to pause and recognize the contribution of western agriculture. As the CEO of one of Am erica’s leading farm associations, I repeatedly hear from our members how much they love what they do and why they could never think of doing anything else. One remarked to me that he was, “born with dirt in my veins,” and I don’t doubt that for a minute. But today, the burdens of more-and-more federal, state and local government regulatory compliance weigh heavily on farmers. Specialty crop producers in California pay more in regulatory costs than the toal agricultural production costs in the state of Tennessee.

Farmer-friendly solutions by lawmakers are few and far between, because our representatives and regulators, like most of Americans, are farther and farther removed from farming and have either forgotten where their food comes from, or take it for granted. Many people's great grandfathers may have been farmers, but their father or mother, or grandparents, probably were not.

Today, despite our massive urban and suburban populations, California remains the biggest agricultura l-producing state in the union with over 75,000 farms and ranches. Thanks to the productive micro-climates in the state, we grow more than 400 different commodities year-round. We produce half of all U.S. - grown fruits and vegetables and almost all the tree nuts. Our agricultural exports now exceed $11 billion annually. Our wines, our greens, our peaches, our strawberries, our rice, our milk, our eggs are created only a few hours’ drive away and we can boast of producing the safest, most abundant and affordable crops anywhere on the planet. All we need is water and a way to get it to the great Central and Imperial Valleys.

This holiday season, when you shop for and eat all the delicious food you enjoy, I ask you to pause a moment to think about where it comes from, and that’s not the super market. And when you say a Thanksgiving blessing this year, thank the fa rmers who, with God’s help, grow the food you eat.