The Top 10 Turkey-Producing States in the Country in 2024

Written by Isaac Peterson
Published: November 21, 2023
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Party Fowl. The proud turkey is the star of Thanksgiving in North America. Their leaner, less-fatty meat has meant a boom in consumption as Americans become increasingly health conscious. Turkey agriculture is literally a multi-billion industry in the US. Here are the top 10 turkey-producing states in the country, according to USDA figures.

An overview of the top 10 turkey-producing states in the U.S.

10. Ohio

Wild Turkey, Turkey - Bird, Feather, Animals In The Wild, Beard

The Buckeye State produces 6.1 million turkeys every year but also has one of the highest populations of wild turkeys in the US.

©Lois_McCleary/ via Getty Images

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At number ten is Ohio. With several large cities, generally flat geography, and a whole lot of arable land, the Buckeye State has plenty of room for turkeys. They produce 6.1 million birds per year. According to The Times Leader, out of Martin’s Ferry, OH, that’s 300 million pounds of meat.

Danville, OH, is one city known for rebranding as a heritage turkey farming hub. Ohio is the tenth-largest turkey-producing state and has one of the highest wild turkey populations in the US.

9. California

Turkey Trot

California produces 6.2 million domesticated turkeys per year.

©davidsdodd/iStock via Getty Images

Though we often think of turkeys as all coming from a picturesque forest in New England, they’re actually a worldwide phenomenon (including Turkey—on farms, anyway). And this includes California. The Golden State produces 6.2 million turkeys per year.

New research and some fossilized bones show us that nearby parts of the Southwestern US may have seen ancient turkey domestication with ancestors dating back to Asia around 2,000 BC.

There are many organically farmed options for the turkey buyer in California. They come in as the ninth-highest turkey-producing state.

8. Pennsylvania

flying turkey

The state of Pennsylvania produces 7.7 million agricultural turkeys per year, and with a lot of wooded wilderness, it’s a big wild turkey state as well.

©Jim Cumming/Shutterstock.com

Pennsylvania has more of a turkey-friendly geography; the wooded Appalachians run clear through the Keystone State. And agriculturally, this state produces 7.7 million turkeys per year.

The state apparently has some skilled turkey farmers: an Orefield, PA farm has given the White House their Thanksgiving bird for several years going back to the 1950s.

7. Iowa

turkey in the wild

11.7 million turkeys are produced annually in Iowa.

©iStock.com/Jens_Lambert_Photography

Iowa certainly has a lot of agriculture, but it’s much more than corn. Interestingly, archaeologists studying the history of turkeys have noted that in places in North America where they find evidence of ancient corn, it’s not uncommon to find evidence of ancient turkeys in the same area. In present times, Iowa has both turkeys and corn. The state produces 11.7 million turkeys per year.

6. Virginia

Types of Big Birds

One county in Virginia, Rockingham, has over half the state’s turkey farms. The state produces 15.3 million turkeys per year.

©iStock.com/DA69

Turkey is big in Virginia, with many organic and heritage turkey options. They produce a hefty 15.3 million turkeys per year. At one time, over half of the 200+ turkey farms in the Old Dominion state were in the single county of Rockingham.

5. Missouri

turkey

The state of Missouri produces 17 million turkeys per year.

©RemarkEliza/Shutterstock.com

It’s not just the farming of turkeys that Missouri enjoys; the central and northern counties of the state bag a good number of wildfowl during hunting season. A recent spring harvest for wild turkeys was 41,000.

But agriculturally, it’s still one of the largest turkey-producing states. Missouri farmers produce 17 million of the gobblers every year.

4. Indiana

A wild Turkey's nest of 13 eggs at the base of a mossy tree.

A clutch of wild turkey eggs—not only does Indiana produce 20 million agricultural turkeys every year, but they’ve brought the wild turkey population back to stability after it dropped to 400 in the 1970s!

©Elias Glesmann/Shutterstock.com

Indiana produces 20 million turkeys a year. 20 million birds and Hoosiers have the smallest state so far! And, like Iowa, there’s plenty of corn and soy to keep the birds fed. A typical 30-pound turkey will consume about 75 to 80 pounds of feed to reach that size.

And the wild turkey in this state isn’t doing too bad, either. Just a few years ago, 89 of Indiana’s 92 counties tagged at least one of the hunted fowl. The fourth largest turkey-producing state helped bring the wild turkey back from only 400 birds in 1977.

3. Arkansas

turkey walking around in the dirt

The Natural State’s governor recently declared the first official Arkansas Turkey Week state holiday. Arkansas produces 26 million turkeys annually.

©Matthew Clemente/Shutterstock.com

Agriculture in Arkansas, specifically its production of 26 million turkeys annually, is a huge deal. In fact, turkeys are so vital to the Natural State that their governor just declared their first official Arkansas State Turkey Week.

2. North Carolina

Male Turkey vs. Female Turkey

North Carolina is the second-highest agricultural turkey-producing state, with 28 million annually.

©photomaster/Shutterstock.com

According to recent annual figures, turkeys made the Tar Heel State almost one billion dollars—the farmed fowl number 28 million per year, comprising 14% of the country’s turkeys.

A cluster of counties in the state’s southeast is the turkey powerhouse, with Sampson County being the leader. Some quick math tells us that one out of roughly every thirty-three turkeys in the US comes from a single county in North Carolina. That’s a busy county in one of the largest turkey-producing states.

1. Minnesota

Adult turkey.

The number one state for agricultural turkey production is Minnesota, with 37 million per year.

©Paul VanDerWerf (Me in ME) / CC BY 2.0, Flickr - License

The crown for turkey production goes to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Minnesota Turkey Grower’s Association alone has 600 farms as members. This mostly prairie land state, with rough but predictable weather, produces 37 million turkeys per year!

The famous flowery-feathered fowl make for big business and big meals during the holidays. Not making the top ten of the largest turkey-producing states, but still worthy of mention are Michigan with 5.2 million, West Virginia with 3.7 million, and South Dakota with 2.5 million birds produced annually.

That’s a lot to gobble up!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Migo Photos/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Isaac began writing as a paid staff reporter for his college newspaper. After getting his B.A. in Divinity, he was a daycare teacher who emphasized God's natural world, and all the creatures, into his learning activities. He worked as Staff Writer for a Midwest-based global online retailer before going full-time freelance. As a solo writer, he's covered gray wolf sightings in the Southwest U.S., smart home upgrades to backyard chicken coops, training American bulldogs and countless other topics, animal and otherwise; especially technical writing. Since his childhood in northern New England, he's been hooked on the beauty of this earth and the outdoors. Isaac loves biking, running, snowboarding, skateboarding and hiking in all of it. In his new home of the Great Lakes, he's spotted numerous herons, rabbits, squirrels, deer, a few toads and at least one turtle on his trail runs. He especially enjoys talking critters with his little sister who loves all animals big and small from giant orcas to her own pet beagle (Mister B).

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