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|Paynesville Press - December 1, 2004|
State leads nation in turkey production again
When American families gathered at the table for Thanksgiving this year, it's a good bet that the main course was raised on one of Minnesota's 600 turkey farms.|
Minnesota currently leads the nation in turkey production and processing, and Kandiyohi and Stearns counties lead the state in turkey production.
This year, Minnesota's 250 turkey producers will raise approximately 46.5 million birds. In terms of birds marketed, the top seven turkey producing counties in Minnesota are Kandiyohi (6.5 million); Stearns (4.6 million); Swift (4.4 million); Morrison (3.4 million); Todd (3 million); Meeker (2.9 million); and Ottertail (2.8 million).
Kandiyohi County ranked as the fourth largest turkey-producing county in the U.S., according to 2001 estimates from the National Turkey Federation.
John Burkel, of Badger, who serves as president of the Minnesota Turkey Growers, said the Minnesota turkey industry is much more than a single holiday and brings more than $600 million in income for producers, processors, and other related industries.
"The turkey industry in Minnesota has a multiplier effect on the state's economy," said Burkel. "The industry and its related businesses support 26,000 jobs in the state. We are working with Minnesota's corn and soybean growers to add value to our products and bring more profits to our members."
According to a University of Minnesota study, every Minnesota turkey generates $11.68 of direct economic activity. Turkeys annually consume $74 million of corn and $90 million of soybean meal, which adds nearly $200 million to the value of Minnesota's corn and soybean crops. It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound tom turkey.
Approximately 90 percent of the turkey products processed in the nine plants in the state are sold outside the state's borders, and 15 percent are sold to international markets.
Nationally, turkey production has more than tripled since 1970. In 2003, nearly 480 million pounds of turkey with a value of $265 million were exported.
Exports now account for about 10 percent of turkey production. The top five export markets for U.S. turkey meat in 2003 were Mexico, Hong Kong, Russia, Taiwan, and Canada.
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