Nebraska farmer Brandon Hunnicutt has a simple wish as the rest of America prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving:
“Hopefully, we get to take the day off.”
It’s a mid-November morning in Giltner, Neb., and Hunnicutt was harvesting corn. Typically, his father, brother, a relative and he finish harvest a couple days to a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. This year, the foursome may not finish until early December. And though he hopes to relax on one of America’s most celebrated holidays, he also realizes there are other farmers out there who will still be working to bring food to our tables.
“I had to tell my daughter that those who raise livestock won’t get Thanksgiving off,” he said.
It’s been a rough year for Hunnicutt and other farmers across the United States, and many will be in their combines during one of America’s most celebrated holidays. Spring rains caused late planting throughout the Corn Belt. An unusually cool summer followed, keeping the crop healthy but the moisture level high. When the rains (and snow in some parts) returned in the fall, farmers were unable to get in the fields. When they did, moisture content in soybeans and corn has been high, causing delays in the fields and backups at the local elevators.
The 2009 season was “one for the record books,” as Hunnicutt said. But despite the challenges, Hunnicutt knows this time of year is special—for farmers and consumers.
“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect, give thanks and be thankful to God,” he said. “It’s a time get together with family and friends and celebrate.”
And when Americans do that this Thanksgiving, Hunnicutt would like everyone to acknowledge and promote the work of America’s farmers.
“I want people not involved in agriculture to realize that we live in a country where farmers go out every day and invest money in seed, equipment and fertilizer to ensure you have a meal on your plate,” he said. “We have dozens of types of bread to choose from and 90 percent lean beef because of a farmer. If you buy organic or free range food, you have that choice. The farmers who produce for those markets take risk there, too. Farmers take time to work for you.”
It’s a message worth sharing for all of us—no matter the production system you choose to support. Farmers produce for us so that the majority of Americans don’t have to farm. So when you’re at the dinner table on Nov. 26—and really, for every meal—remember to Thank a Farmer.