Many give thanks to Minnesota for producing the most turkeys

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Production numbers show there’s a good chance that a Thanksgiving turkey came from Minnesota, especially if you live in the Midwest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Americans should eat about 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving. Minnesota farmers generally grow about 45 million turkeys a year on more than 500 farms, or nearly 18% of the country’s turkey supply, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Minnesota was the nation’s leader in turkey production in 2020 with 40 million birds, the USDA said. That was nine million more than North Carolina, which was No. 2 in production.

The price of the birds has steadily increased this year. Demand has gone up after being tamped down by the pandemic last year when fewer families gathered and restaurants were empty.

“USDA is actually predicting this year to be a record high price for turkeys,” said Tim Petry, a livestock marketing economist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service. “From a price standpoint, these are the best prices they’ve seen for a number of years. So you know, that’s good news for producers.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz earlier this week lauded turkey growers for their work in a billion-dollar industry that employs thousands of people in the state.

“Many our producers are truly family farms, generations of family farms that make a difference,” he said.

South Dakota produces about 5 million turkeys a year and North Dakota about 1 million, according to USDA figures.