Should we call it Trucksgiving?

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Updated Mar 5, 2018

More than 70 percent of all freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks, according to the American Trucking Associations.

Moving 10.5 billion tons of freight each year requires more than 3.4 million trucks and about 3.5 million truck drivers. But if you plan to celebrate in the traditional style tomorrow, you have to give a nod to the real heroes of Thanksgiving: turkeys and truckers.

When Americans sit down to enjoy their Thanksgiving feast we will consume a whopping 44 million turkeys. Personally, I will account for one 15-pounder.

A whopping 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey on Thanksgiving – that’s 46 million turkeys – and recent analysis conducted by the Minnesota Trucking Association shows it takes more than 83,000 truckloads to haul Thanksgiving into your home.

Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen says if you lined those trucks up end-to-end the resulting convoy would be nearly 1,200 miles long, “stretching from Duluth, Minn. to Austin, Texas heading down Interstate 35,” he says.

Transport to the grocery store isn’t the only ride a turkey will take on a truck. Shortly after emerging from their shells they leave the hatchery for the farm, where they will munch on 15 million bushels of soybeans and 27 million bushels of corn that were hauled in via truck. Three to four months later, it’s off to the processing plant.

Prepped and bagged, Thanksgiving’s rock star climbs into the back of a reefer unit for its last ride, unless you count its ride in the trunk of your car.

Tomorrow, when you settle in for the bountiful harvest that you harvested from the shelves of your local grocer, just remember those sweet potatoes, green beans, turkey – all of it – wasn’t helicoptered in.

Happy Trucksgiving.


Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].