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Where do Minnesota’s turkeys live?

The outbreak of avian flu at several turkey farms in Minnesota in the past couple of weeks has brought attention to the state’s position as the nation’s No. 1 turkey producer. But, just like people, turkeys are not evenly distributed across the state — their production is largely concentrated in just a few counties in central Minnesota.

The map below visualizes the population of farm turkeys in Minnesota as of December 2012, with the darker colored counties having higher numbers of turkeys.

Sources: Turkey inventory: USDA Census of Agriculture; Avian flu: Minnesota Board of Animal Health


  •       More than 336,506 turkeys
  •       Between 52,805 and 336,506 turkeys
  •       Between 65 and 52,805 turkeys
  •       Between 9 and 65 turkeys
  •       Turkey count not reported
  •       No turkey data available
  •       County has reported avian flu case(s)

The data comes from the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture. Since the census is a few years old, the exact count of turkeys shouldn’t be taken as accurate today, but the overall trends in turkey production locations are not likely to have changed.

The orange dots on the map identify counties where the Minnesota Department of Animal Health has confirmed cases of avian flu among turkeys, as of April 11. The flu cases so far have mostly been reported in the southern part of the state, but have gotten as far north as Stearns and Kandiyohi Counties, Minnesota’s top turkey producers.

A note on the data: Some counties, shaded darker gray on the map, have turkey farms but the USDA did not report a specific count of birds to avoid disclosing information about specific farms. This is generally the case in counties with a small number of turkey-producing farms.

Turkey thumbnail photo by Flickr user Penn State and used under Creative Commons license.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Maria Jette on 04/14/2015 - 12:16 pm.

    what of the REAL Minnesota turkeys?

    No, not the ones in the State Capitol and its environs, but the wild ones that tramp though our yard. Is this virus having an impact on the wild population?

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