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Thankful for poultry’s impact on state economy

To the Editor:
Besides being the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota is host to a very prestigious leadership program that focuses on building tomorrow’s agricultural and rural leaders.  
This program combines leadership interests in agriculture and rural Minnesota by selecting 30 new leaders from around the state every two years to complete the program by process of application and interview.  The name of this program is MARL, (Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership. I  am honored to be chosen to participate in this program, and for two years I will be engaged in many days of studies surrounding  the future of agriculture, greater Minnesota vitality and value-added benefits of agriculture to our state and country. This program meets for multi-day workshops around the state and Washington, D.C., along with two weeks of international studies. To be  apart of MARL is more than a two-year educational activity, it is a lifelong endeavor.
The MARL mission statement,  “To develope the skills of Minnesota agriculture and rural leaders so they may maximize their impact and effectiveness in local, state, national and international arenas.”
This past week we met for a threeday workshop in Willmar, where we heard of many topics surrounding the poultry industry and the value of this industry to Minnesota. Here is a list of facts that I thought I should share this week of Thanksgiving.
• Minnesota’s livestock industry contributes $10 billion to our state’s economy.
• Minnesota’s agriculture employs nearly 400,000 jobs; 80 percent are off-farm.
• There’s a good chance that one in 10 people you know have an ag-related job.
• Minnesota is #1 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.
• Poultry love to eat: 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.
This Thanksgiving when you look at your savory turkey ready to be carved, keep in mind the tremendous impact on our local economy that our state’s turkey industry generates. I will try and keep you informed of other interesting facts I come across that show how important agriculture is to our state’s future and economy as I continue my MARL journey.
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