Questions and Answers: Celebrating Thanksgiving

Questions and Answers: Celebrating Thanksgiving

With US Senator Chuck Grassley

Q: How important is Iowa to Thanksgiving?

A: As a senior U.S. Senator from Iowa and a lifelong family farmer, I am proud of our state’s bountiful harvest and the work that is done year-round by Iowa farming families and workers along the supply chain to bring food to the table. It’s especially appropriate to talk about turkey around Thanksgiving time. Iowa ranks seventh in US turkey production, raising about 12 million turkeys each year. Consuming nearly 10 million bushels of corn and 108,000 tons of soybean meal, these birds add value to Iowa’s agriculture from field to flock to fork. Don’t forget that Iowa’s poultry industry also includes egg production, where Iowa leads the nation, producing about 16.4 billion eggs a year. Collectively, Iowa’s poultry industry employs nearly 12,000 people with over $440 million in wages. These paychecks contribute to Iowa household budgets and increase the tax base for government services. For that reason, I work hard to ensure that our nation’s tax, trade and regulatory systems allow Iowans to make the most of our agricultural heritage to ensure economic prosperity and the nation’s food and energy security for a generation to come to improve to the next. From the fight against bird flu To recover from natural disasters and the pandemic, I am focusing on the challenges our agribusiness is facing to build resilience so our producers, workers, suppliers and processors emerge stronger than ever.

During this Thanksgiving season, it’s important to recognize how the food on the table got there in the first place. I’ve made it one of my jobs to educate legislators and policymakers that food doesn’t grow in the supermarket. The Acts and Omissions of the US Trade Representative, for example, are having a tremendous impact on family farms and US agribusiness. For example, Mexico’s proposal to ban imports of genetically modified corn would phase out 90 percent of US corn by January 2024. Currently, Iowa corn farmers export 16 million tons to Mexico every year. I also continue my crusade to combat predatory practices fueled by corporate consolidation and to promote robust competition and fairness in the agricultural sector of our economy, particularly in the cattle industry, where the Big Four packers control 85 percent of the market. Cattle producers deserve a fair price for their quality beef and consumers deserve a competitive price, especially as rising food inflation under the Biden economy empties their grocery store wallets from week to week.

Q: How will food inflation affect Thanksgiving food prices this year?

A: According to the American Farm Bureau’s annual survey, the cost of a Thanksgiving meal will be the highest ever. The average cost of a Thanksgiving party for 10 people is $64.05. That’s a 20 percent increase from last year and a staggering 40 percent increase from 2020. Consumers buying Thanksgiving staples are paying double-digit premiums for turkey, stuffing, pie crusts, buns and more. As consumer purchasing power shrinks, farmers also face rising input costs for fuel and fertilizer, and the trucking industry pays $5 a gallon for diesel to deliver the goods to retailers and homes across the country. Like many Iowa families across the state, I look forward to gathering at our family farm for Thanksgiving. Even if it costs more, I look forward to the annual meal and all the trimmings, especially Barbara’s apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Before we rush into the preparations, gathering around the table and saying mercy to the food and the people who celebrate together to enjoy the feast, let’s also think of those less fortunate. For those who are able to help needy neighbors, visit https://www.iowafba.org for more information on Iowa’s six food bank partnerships to help fight hunger and put pantries on the frontline in yours to fill community.

Q: What are you grateful for this year?

A: Each day I wake up grateful for the blessings of faith and family that provide me with immeasurable support and sustenance to continue my public service. I also give thanks daily for the inalienable rights as an American to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful to the people of Iowa who have renewed their faith in me and my work on their behalf as their US Senator. I will continue to honor that public trust by upholding my oath to protect and defend the Constitution and by standing up for my state’s values ​​and needs as a loud and proud voice for Iowa in the US Senate.

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