State ag leaders recognize the people who make Thanksgiving meals possible

Midwestern state agriculture directors, commissioners, and secretaries are recognizing the people across the food supply chain who make Thanksgiving meals possible.

Randy Romanski is the Secretary for Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.  He says the top ag officials from each state have a regular discussion group where they share ideas. “All of our colleagues thought we should get together,” he says.  “We should thank producers and veterinarians and processors, and all of the people that provide healthy, nutritious food products for us and our families, especially around the holidays but all year round.”

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler says each state leader is highlighting a different part of the supply chain. “We started really looking at veterinarians that help us to take care of animals and the farmers that grow the feed. During Thanksgiving we focus on turkey and some ham so we think about the animal perspective, but I would want people to know our farmers, whether they’re raising animals or growing crops, have to rely on people to make sure that food supply is safe and in the case of animals that they remain healthy,” he says. “My blurb about giving thanks talked about the grocery stores and the fact that they’re really a connection between the consumers and farmers and suppliers and people that grow the food for us as well. I want people to take a few minutes and realize that, yes, most of will go to a local grocery store or butcher to get our food but really that’s the end of the line and it takes a lot of effort starting with farmers and suppliers at the very beginning to get that done and then the people that transport it and process it. It’s a real chain. Going back to the COVID pandemic, we found out that supply chain is really important and each of the pieces of that chain perform a really important service for us.” 

The ag leaders are sharing their appreciation for the farmers and producers, truckers, processors, grocery stores, and veterinarians who work tirelessly to get food on tables.  

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell tells Brownfield he called on leaders during the pandemic to work across stateliness and the partnership continues. He says the ag supply chain would not work without the trucking industry. “Without them, all these products that our farmers produce would not get to the processors,” he says.

Romanski focused on food processors, which featured a southwestern Wisconsin dairy plant. “You know, the great thing about Wisconsin is I could have been anywhere because there are dairy, vegetable, and meat processing facilities all over the state, so it was a great way to highlight the important role that processors play in the agriculture and food industry here in Wisconsin,” he says.

Dorothy Pelanda is the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. She says without production agriculture and its related industries, there would be no food. “From the farmer, to the veterinarian, to the transport company, and everywhere in between, every step plays a crucial role in the food supply chain,” she says. “My colleagues and I work with these amazing people on a daily basis and find it extremely important, especially during this season of thanks, to give credit to those who provide one of our most basic necessities.”

Illinois Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello joins the group of leaders saying, “Thank you to the farmers and producers who feed our country. The work you put in 365 days a year allows us to feed our families local, safe and nutritious products.”

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen tells Brownfield this is a time for reflection. “As we come into the holiday week here, and you just think about all of the different things that goes on to get that, not just the turkey to the table but the potatoes and everything else that we enjoy as Minnesotans and Americans,” he shares. He says he’s especially grateful for the past two years as farmers dealt with a pandemic, livestock diseases, and many other challenges. 

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