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This year, be thankful for farmers

By Morgan Watts

Rowan Cooperative Extension

With it being the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it is almost certain that everyone will partake in eating turkey.

Turkey is the most popular type of meat to eat at Thanksgiving. Almost everyone has one, whether they get it baked or my personal favorite, fried.

Did you know that according to the 2012 USDA census, we have over 800 turkey farms in North Carolina and that in 2016, North Carolina produced around 33,500,000 turkeys? That’s a lot of turkeys. According to the 2012 census, North Carolina ranked number 2 in the United States for turkey production, which means there is a pretty good chance that the turkey you enjoyed this year was raised right here in North Carolina.

Agriculture plays an important part in the North Carolina economy. We rank eighth in the United States for the total value of agriculture products sold, which measure out to be around $12,588,142,000. The estimated value of North Carolina’s turkey industry in 2016 was $933 million.

If you are like my family, we always get a little over ambitious and buy the biggest turkey we can find and after eating all day Thursday for Thanksgiving, we always end up with leftover turkey. So, what do we do with all the leftovers? You can only eat plain turkey for so many days.

Let’s be honest — all the other fixings are usually long gone at this point. Some of my favorite things to do with leftover turkey is to make turkey quesadillas, white turkey chili, or my personal favorite, stuffing and turkey casserole (if there is any stuffing left).

Just remember as you indulge in all that turkey this Thanksgiving season to thank the farmers for all of their hard work throughout the year so that we are able to enjoy all of our favorite foods this season.

If you have any questions or want to read more about Agriculture Production Statistics in North Carolina, please visit http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/.

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