Let’s Talk Turkey: States That Make The Most Money From Turkey

By Kathy Morris
Nov. 22, 2019

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This Thanksgiving Americans will sit down, plates piled high, and eat a lot of turkey. How much turkey? An estimated 46 million turkeys will be cooked for the occasion. Wow, that is a lot of turkey!

Here at Zippia, we like numbers and it made us wonder, “How much money is all this turkey making?” So, we dove into the data to see which states make the most money from the holiday bird and where exactly all this turkey is coming from.


  • One in five turkeys produced in the US is eaten on Thanksgiving.
  • Minnesota has $12,538,757,400 generated from the turkey industry. Wow. That’s a lot to be thankful for.
  • Minnesota is so dominate, Iowa at #2 is still 3 billion behind.
  • Butterball, based in North Carolina, processes the most turkeys each year (1.36 billion pounds).


For this analysis, we went to the esteemed National Turkey Federation (yes, it is a real place) for data on the total jobs, wages, and economic impact of turkey production. A couple years ago, we looked at jobs and wages generated directly from turkey and this year decided to look at the bigger picture.

So, when looking at the number of jobs generated from turkey below, it will include all jobs generated from turkey. Turkey employs tens of thousands directly across the nation. Tens of thousands more are employed in related industries, such as contract growing, product distribution, equipment manufacturing and a wide variety of other affiliated services. However, the economic impact goes beyond that.

For example, in Minnesota where Jennie-o’s is located, there are over 10,000 direct jobs. However, each of those workers goes into the community and spends their wages on goods and services. Those dollars lead to job growth.

Here are the states with the most total jobs from the turkey industry:


That is a lot of jobs! Check out the staggering dollar amounts generated from these jobs:


Of course, it is no coincidence that states with major turkey processors take home the pie when it comes to both jobs and wages.

Turkey Is Here To Stay:

Another Thanksgiving, more billions generated from turkey. That is a lot to be thankful for- especially for the states that top the list. The US remains the largest turkey producer in the world and overwhelmingly reap the economic benefits of the turkey business.

The only category we are second in? Consumption! While Americans eat a lot of turkey, Israel is the number 1 consumer (AKA eater) of turkey. However, since the US is the number one exporter, that isn’t such a bad thing.

The continuous popularity of turkey and white meat in general insures that every Thanksgiving the gravy (turkey dollars) will keep flowing in. So, when you pile the turkey high on your plate, don’t feel guilty- you are stimulating the economy!

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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Topics: Study