Iowa turkey industry looking up - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa turkey industry looking up

BREMER COUNTY (KWWL) -- Despite a rise in grain prices, one Iowa turkey farmer is thankful for a stabilizing industry.

Steve Burrows is the manager of Kuethe Turkey Farms and said the last year and a half has been a struggle for Iowa turkey farmers.

"We had an over supply of meat. We had an economy that was in a downturn. We've got that supply under control, and, looking into 2011, I think things look a lot better," Burrows said.

Although he cited concerns over grain prices, he said Iowa is in a position to break records.

"I think we're set to raise about 10-and-a-half million turkeys next year in the state of Iowa, which is the most I think we've raised since 1961," Burrows said.

Kuethe Turkey Farms raises male turkeys - or toms - for restaurants such as Subway, which is its biggest customer. Burrows said the farm has also done business with Arby's, Quizno's and Denny's.

He said bag turkeys - or Thanksgiving turkeys - are usually female turkeys (hens) weighing 10-15 pounds, and Kuethe Turkey Farms doesn't raise those.

"These guys will be heading to market next week," Burrows said, standing in a building filled with 7,500 toms, each weighing between 40 and 50 pounds.

He said the farm raises between 270,000 and 280,000 turkeys each year and that Iowa is one of the top ten states for turkey production.

Online Reporter: Becca Habegger

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