“Thankfully there’s enough corn still left in Iowa to feed to turkeys. But I know the growers were very concerned this summer not knowing what kind of crop we were going to get,” Halstead says.
“But thankfully, I think the corn crop in Iowa was at least good enough to sustain turkey production in Iowa for another year.”
Iowa ranks ninth nationwide in turkey production according the Turkey Federation, producing 11 million turkeys. Halstead says feed accounts for 75-percent of the cost of raising the birds the eat 11-million bushels of corn and 110,000 tons of soybean meal each year.
“And so the impact of eight-dollar corn is felt tremendously in the industry, so thankfully consumption of turkeys has stayed up, so the prices have stayed up as well and kept pace with the feed costs so far,” according the Halstead. One of the reasons turkey consumption has stayed up is the use of the processed birds in sandwiches in various restaurant chains.
“Most all of the turkeys raised in Iowa are going into Subway stores and Jimmy John’s and sliced and would end up in a meat counter as opposed to on a Thanksgiving table,” Halstead explains. “So it generally goes with the economy. So if people are eating out and traveling in the summer and those sorts of things, then that’s good for turkey production and the turkey growers in Iowa.”
The state ranks fifth nationwide in turkey processing, running some 15.5-million birds through plants in Storm Lake and West Liberty each year. The Turkey Federation says the impact of raising and processing turkeys brings in over $1.5-billion annually to the Iowa economy.