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The importance of poultry to Minnesota economy

To the Editor:
As another harvest season nears its end, farmers around Minnesota find themselves filling every bin and grain bunker with a tremendous crop. Our ability to produce record-breaking yields are thanks to great weather, new technology, environmentally friendly practices and a strong commitment to produce high-quality products. Minnesota farmers produce some of the nation’s leading crops and livestock from corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar beets, beef, pork and dairy. As people notice the large bunkers of grain at every grain elevator, the question is “where does it all go?”
Each year, millions of bushels of corn and soybeans are harvested across the upper Midwest. Exports are talked about in the news quite often as the United States is a global provider of food. But the greatest story of all is how we utilize all of these products in the state of Minnesota to generate thousands of jobs, and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our state’s economy. Our state uses millions of bushels of grain to satisfy the needs of ethanol plants, food processors, livestock feed and many other value added products. As this is the week of Thanksgiving, let us focus on the effects of the Minnesota poultry industry, especially turkeys.
Here is a list of facts that our agriculture industry has reason to brag about as we look at our state’s accomplishments in food production.
• Minnesota’s livestock industry contribute $10 billion to our state’s economy;
• Minnesota is number one in the U.S. for turkey production;
• Minnesota is in the top 10 for chicken production;
• Minnesota’s poultry industry supports 26,000 jobs;
• Approximately 46 million turkeys are raised in Minnesota each year;
• Each year in Minnesota, turkeys consume $163 million of corn and $169 million of soybean meal;
• During Super Bowl Sunday, Americans eat nearly 100 million pounds of chicken wings;
• In the U.S., there is nearly one laying hen for each American;
• Kandiyohi County is the largest turkey producer in the state;
• The direct economic activity generated by one turkey raised in our state is $17.46;
• Minnesota’s poultry farmers are committed to raising safe, healthy and affordable food for families in the state, and around the world; and
• A very special turkey operation in Alexandria owned by Carl and Sharlene Wittenburg will be sending turkeys from their flock to the White House for the traditional Presidential Turkey ceremony.
This Thanksgiving, when you look at your savory turkey ready to be carved, keep in mind the tremendous impact on our local economy that Minnesota’s turkey industry generates.
Resources: Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, Minnesota Dept of Agriculture, Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota.
Have a great holiday!
Paul Wright
Lynn Township Farmer
McLeod County Commissioner