KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Arkansas has trotted into second place among turkey-producing states after North Carolina’s gobbler population fell sharply as U.S. turkey numbers hit a 28-year low.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports Minnesota remained king of the roost in 2014 with an estimated 45 million birds, an increase of 1 million over 2013.
Arkansas saw its turkey population rise from 28 million to 29 million in the same span, while Indiana, the nation’s No. 4 turkey-producing state, gained 1.5 million birds to 19 million.
North Carolina suffered the largest decline, falling from 34 million last year to 28 million in 2014, while Missouri’s population fell from 17 million to 16 million.
NASS says U.S. farmers produced 235 million birds in 2014, the lowest number since 207 million turkeys were raised in 1986.