There are roughly 130 turkey farms in Iowa that have been busy preparing for this week as Thanksgiving Day draws near. Iowa Turkey Federation Executive Director Gretta Irwin says Iowa ranks ninth nationwide in turkey production. “We’ll be raising close to 11 million turkeys in the state of Iowa (this year) and each one of those turkeys is going to add $24 to $25 of economic impact to our economy,” Irwin says.

Iowa ranks fifth in the country for turkey processing as Hillshire Brands in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, combined, process over 15.5 million turkeys annually. Irwin says Iowans will find great prices on turkeys as they prepare for the Thanksgiving Day meal. “I’m seeing them at 88-cents a pound or you can buy a ham and get a turkey for free, there are lots of great deals out there,” Irwin says.

The Iowa Turkey Federation’s website was recently revamped and includes a host of tips and ideas for preparing turkeys. “We have a free brochure you can download that shows you how to prepare that turkey,” Irwin says. “It walks you step by step through the process of cooking a frozen turkey, deep fat frying a turkey, grilling a turkey…lots of great ideas in the that brochure.”

Governor Terry Branstad will uphold an annual tradition today, by pardoning two Iowa-grown turkeys during a ceremony at Terrace Hill. The turkeys, from a farm in Ellsworth, will then be taken to live out their remaining days at Living History Farms in Urbandale.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)