Thanksgiving - a time to thank North Carolina farmers

Published November 27, 2019

By Donald Bryson

As our minds turn to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we generally begin to think about the food associated with them. Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, and a Thanksgiving meal can serve to highlight that fact. As you and your family enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, there is a good chance that you have reason to be thankful for a North Carolina farmer.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, North Carolina ranks second in the production of turkeys. Data from 2018 shows that North Carolina produced more than 32.5 million turkeys last year.

As you begin carving your turkey, be thankful for a North Carolina farmer.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a staple Down East. However, not many people realize the full size of North Carolina’s sweet potato crop. North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state, approximately 46.8 percent of all sweet potatoes in the nation in 2012. In 2018, North Carolina’s sweet potato production accounted for 82,000 acres of farmland and was valued at $236.2 million.

As you slice up your sweet potato pie, or candied sweet potatoes with your holiday dinner, be thankful for a North Carolina farmer.

Christmas Trees

Often folks begin decorating for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. If you live in North Carolina and buy a “real” Christmas tree, then it’s apparent that your tree likely came from North Carolina. However, North Carolina farms are responsible for a large portion of Christmas tree sales in the nation, particularly in the southeast.  North Carolina is the second leading state in Christmas tree production, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s Christmas trees with a market value of $86 million, and grown on 653 farms.

As you hang ornaments on your freshly watered tree, be thankful for a North Carolina farmer.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Civitas Institute!