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Iowa has grown into a turkey powerhouse

Iowa has grown into a turkey powerhouse

There are currently more than 130 turkey farms in Iowa, according to the Iowa Turkey Federation.

• Iowa has moved up from the ninth largest turkey producing state to eighth largest and is ranked fifth in turkey processing.

• Iowa produces over 11 million turkeys annually.

• The turkey industry is a $1.5 billion industry in Iowa, providing thousands of jobs and more than $159 million in salaries.

Each turkey raised in Iowa generates about $25 of economic activity in the state, according to Gretta Irwin, director of the Iowa Turkey Federation.

"The turkey industry is important to the state of Iowa because of the value-added activity that it generates," Irwin said.

"Each turkey raised here eats about one bushel of corn and one-third of a bushel of soybeans in their lifetime. But the industry also supports the companies and industries that sell everything from the wood shavings and oat hulls used for bedding to the turkey processors."

The turkeys raised in Iowa are typically not the ones that wind up on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Most Iowa-grown turkeys are processed into products like deli meat for restaurant chains, such as Subway and Jimmy Johns, or into pre-packaged deli meat found in grocery stores.

Others birds are further processed into turkey sausage or patties, often found in the frozen food section at the grocery store.



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