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6 things turkey farmers want you to know

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner and United States turkey farmers are proud to cater your holiday feast. Turkey farmers have a passion for raising turkeys and know consumers have questions about where their food comes from and how it is raised, so here are a few things turkey farmers want to share with you:

Your “perfect” turkey is at a grocery store near you.

Many of us have already purchased our turkey for Thursday, but imagine you’re at the grocery store picking out your Thanksgiving turkey.  How do you decide which is the “perfect” one to share with your family? Maybe you look at price, size, brand, if it has a certain label, or a combination. It can be a lot to take in when you just want to buy a turkey that will make your family happy around the dinner table. No matter which turkey you place in your cart, know that a turkey farmer would also feed the turkey you chose to his/her family.

Animal care is a top priority among turkey farmers.

Animal health and well being are important to turkey farmers. Turkeys have 24/7 access to fresh water in climate-controlled barns, which provide protection from predators, weather and disease. They are fed a balanced diet of corn and soybean meal mixed with vitamins and minerals to help them grow to be healthy and strong. Best-management practices help ensure turkeys are well taken care of from birth to market.

National Turkey Federation animal care guidelines

National Turkey Federation animal care guidelines

Presenting the National Thanksgiving Turkey is an honor and a holiday tradition for turkey farmers.

Every year there is a presentation of the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President of the United States. The National Turkey Federation has presented turkeys to the president since Truman was in office. Last year’s Presidential Turkey came from Cooper Farms in Ohio and this year’s turkey is from Foster Farms in California.

“Raising and presenting the 2014 National Thanksgiving Turkey was a true honor and experience I will never forget,” said Gary Cooper, COO of Cooper Farms. “They were raised by my son Cole with his wife and son, Case.”

Turkey farmers are increasingly committed to transparency.

Being transparent and “opening the barn doors” is important for many turkey farmers as more people become interested in their food, but biosecurity is also important. It is a farmer’s responsibility to provide a safe and abundant turkey supply for everyone to enjoy, but they also realize consumers have questions.  To overcome this obstacle without putting the turkeys health or safety of our food supply at risk, farmers have adopted innovations to show you the farm to fork process. These innovations include: tours, virtual tours and videos.

Turkey farmers are committed to environmental stewardship.

Turkey farmers are responsible stewards of the land, water and air. They use modern agriculture methods to provide a safe, affordable and healthy protein to feed your family.  Little land is devoted to production because most turkeys are raised inside barns, but the biggest potential impact is from the use of the bedding material (litter) used in the turkey houses. Litter is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen and is recycled as an organic fertilizer on farm fields!

Turkey isn’t just for November!

Turkey steals the spotlight in November, but the lean protein is great for eating all year long! It is versatile, nutritious, affordable and makes a great addition to any breakfast, school lunch or family dinner! Did you know one turkey breast only has 120 calories with one gram of total fat?

Nutrition chart from The National Turkey Federation

Nutrition chart from The National Turkey Federation.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your turkey (all year long). If you have questions about turkeys and how they are raised, ask a turkey farmer!

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