Fun Facts & Misconceptions About Minnesota Turkey Farms

Fun Facts & Misconceptions About Minnesota Turkey Farms

November 25, 2020 Farm News News -- KRJB-KRJM-KKCQ 0

By Mark Askelson (11/25/20)

Pelican Rapids, MN — If you plan on eating Turkey this Thanksgiving, there’s a very good chance that the turkey on the table came from right here in Minnesota. In fact, Minnesota ranks #1 for both turkey production and processing in the United States. There are approximately 450 turkey farmers who operate 600 turkey farms, and those farms raise between 42 and 45 million birds annually. Those birds are raised for 15 weeks if they are a hen or 18 weeks for toms. John Gorton, a Pelican Rapids based turkey farmer, promises that a lot of thought and care went into that turkey over those few months. Preparations for the turkey now thawing in your fridge started months before it was even hatched.

According to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, it typically takes between 75 and 80 pounds of feed to raise your average turkey. Gorton adds that all turkeys take in a well-balanced food supply, and despite misconceived notions, they don’t take in any growth hormones.

Gorton also wants Minnesotans to know that he truly cares about his birds and their health. He says as a turkey farmer, caring for the birds is his number one priority. 

And most of the turkey farms in Minnesota are family farms as well. Minnesota has more independent turkey farmers than any other state. According to the MTGA, many of these farmers are 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation family farmers. For more turkey facts, visit the