Beginning with the American pilgrims, Thanksgiving has always focused on celebrating the harvest and the abundance of food we are able to share with our friends and family.
This year is no different. As we take stock of what we are thankful for, I hope that Americans will think of our farmers, ranchers and growers – and recognize the incredible contributions they make to the health and strength of this country we all love.
Agriculture is tied to 1 in 12 jobs in this nation. Thanks to the incredible productivity of our nation’s farmers and ranchers, Americans spend – on average – about 6 to 7 cents out of every dollar they earn on food. This is far less than families around the world. It gives us the freedom and the flexibility to spend on our families and invest in other parts of the economy.
President Obama recognized this connection when he proclaimed Thanksgiving week ‘National Farm-City’ week, asking Americans to “honor the individuals, families, and communities who provide us the staple foods that sustain our Nation.”
There is no better time to honor our farmers, ranchers, and producers. Without them, the safe, abundant and affordable food we’ll put on our tables at Thanksgiving would not have been possible. Generation after generation, their hard work and willingness to embrace new ideas has provided our nation with the food we need.
So I am thankful each and every day for the honor and privilege of serving as your Secretary of Agriculture. I get to do work that helps fight hunger across the nation and around the globe, encourages small businesses to create jobs, and supports farmers and ranchers in their effort to put food on our tables.
Like millions of Americans, I will sit with my family this Thanksgiving to share a meal and I’ll express my thanks to those who produced the bounty that my family is about to receive. I will also take a moment to think about those who may not know where their next meal will come from, and those without family this Thanksgiving – particularly those men and women in uniform serving our country overseas. On behalf of all the hard working people at USDA, let me wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.