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Thanksgiving, A Farmer's Holiday

Thanksgiving, A Farmer's Holiday

American farmers produce half the worlds' supply of turkey last year and more than 3.1 billion pounds of sweet potatoes

If ever there is one holiday that celebrates U.S. farmers and ranchers, it's Thanksgiving. According to the USDA, more than 22.5 million turkeys will be eaten this holiday. Read on for few more Thanksgiving tidbits, courtesy of USDA's annual production survey.

In 2012, American farmers produced:

-3.1 billion pounds of sweet corn

-2.7 billion pounds of sweet potatoes

-7.5 trillion pounds of turkey

-1.2 billion pounds of pumpkins

-302 million pounds of pecans

-804 million pounds of cranberries

Top producers of Thanksgiving staples:

-Turkey: Minnesota

-Cranberries: Wisconsin

-Sweet Potatoes: North Carolina

-Pecans: Georgia

-Green Beans: Florida

-Pumpkins: Illinois

USDA's turkey preparation and handling tips:

American farmers produce half the worlds' supply of turkey last year and more than 3.1 billion pounds of sweet potatoes

-Never thaw a turkey in a garage, basement, car, on the kitchen counter, outdoors or on the porch; only thaw at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit

-Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking in order to avoid spreading bacteria to areas around the sink and countertops.

-To check a turkey for safety, insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

-Refrigerate leftovers and any type of food that should be refrigerated, including pie—within two hours.

Thanksgiving, A Farmer's Holiday

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