Iowa farms probably won't be providing the Thanksgiving turkey - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa farms probably won't be providing the Thanksgiving turkey

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There are about 130 turkey farms in Iowa which raise more than 11 million turkeys a year but you will probably see the turkeys from this state on a sandwich or at your grocery store's deli counter. 

"You won't see these guys on your Thanksgiving table," said Steve Burrows, turkey producer.

Burrows has been in the turkey industry for about 25 years. He is part owner and manager of Buck Creek Turkey, Inc. 

The turkeys Burrows raises will weigh more than 40 lbs. The average thanksgiving turkey is about 16 lbs.

Burrows says when the flock is ready, they will head to West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, Iowa.

"It can go into Subways, some grocery stores, food service type things, further processing," said Burrows. 

He says contrary to popular belief, Thanksgiving isn't a very busy time of year for them. Instead, it's actually been pretty steady for years.

That's because he says in the late 80s and early 90s, his farm switched from bagging turkeys for Thanksgiving to processing them for deli meat.

He says even though these turkeys won't be on your Thanksgiving table, it's still a special time of year for his industry.

"It's great for our industry and also for the country, I think. I mean the turkey has been here in the United States for over ten million years. They found fossils that far back. It's a good, good thing to use with the Thanksgiving theme," said Burrows. 

According to the Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa ranks 9th in the nation when it comes to turkey production and 5th in turkey processing.



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