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Time to talk turkey

By Morgan Watts
N.C. Cooperative Extension

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming soon, it is almost certain that everyone will partake in eating turkey. Turkey is the most popular type of meat to eat at Thanksgiving. Almost everyone has one, whether they get it baked or my personal favorite, fried! Did you know that according to the 2012 USDA census, we have more than 800 turkey farms in North Carolina and that in 2019, North Carolina produced around 31,000,000 turkeys? That’s a lot of turkeys and according to the 2019 AG census, North Carolina ranked No. 2 in the country for turkey production, which means there is a pretty good chance that the turkey you will be enjoying this year was raised right here in North Carolina. Agriculture plays an important part in the North Carolina economy. We rank eighth in the country for the total value of agriculture products sold, which measure out to be around $12.9 billion. The estimated value of North Carolina’s turkey industry in 2018 was $610 million.

If you are like my family, we always get a little over ambitious and buy the biggest turkey we can find and after eating all day Thursday for Thanksgiving, we seem to always end up with leftover turkey. So, what do we do with all the leftovers? You can only eat plain turkey for so many days. Let’s be honest; all the other fixings are usually long gone at this point. Some of my favorite things to do with leftover turkey is to make turkey quesadillas, white turkey chili, or my personal favorite, stuffing and turkey casserole (if there is any stuffing left).

Just remember as you indulge on all that turkey this Thanksgiving season to thank the farmers for all of their hard work throughout the year so that we are able to enjoy all of our favorite foods this season.

If you have any questions or want to read more about Agriculture Production Statistics in North Carolina, go to http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/.

Morgan Watts is livestock and field crops agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

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