High Grain Prices Make for Tough Year for Turkey Growers
UNDATED -- Minnesota's turkey farmers are front and center this week, showing off their product. Steve Olson is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. He says high grain prices have made for slim profit margins.
Yeah its been a tough year, and it looks like for the next six months or longer it's going to be tough margins for producers, as is the case for other agriculture commodities.
Meanwhile, Olson says American grown turkeys continue to be locked out of the market in China ever since the avian influenza outbreak back in 2015. Because of that, the recent trade war with China hasn't impacted the turkey market as much as other industries like pork. However, Olson says the recently reworked North American trade deal will be good for turkey growers.
We were glad to see that deal get resolved because Mexico is our big trade partner. Canada we didn't have access to before, but through this renegotiated deal it looks like there may be an opportunity to get in there.
Olson says Minnesotans only consume about 10 percent of the turkeys grown here, the rest are shipped to other states and foreign markets.
He says there's a very good chance the bird on your Thanksgiving table was raised locally.
We still rank #1. We'll raise about 42.5 million birds this year. North Carolina is #2, followed by Arkanasa. Stearns County is one of the hearts of Minnesota turkey production.
Olson says, while we all talk turkey more often during the holidays, 70 percent of the turkey consumed each year are at other times besides Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The National Turkey Federation estimates that about 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas, and 19 million at Easter. Ninety-five percent of Americans surveyed eat turkey at Thanksgiving.