North Carolina is one of the nation's leading producers of turke - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

North Carolina is one of the nation's leading producers of turkeys

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CLINTON, NC (WECT) - When it comes to turkey production, North Carolina ranks second in the nation, behind Minnesota, with over 40 million birds grown, but still enough to feed about ten percent of the country. Scott Prestage says the turkey business has been all right this year in North Carolina.

"We're having a good year this year," said Prestage of Prestage Farms, one of the nation's largest producer of turkeys. "It is not quite as good as 2011, but 2012 is proving to be a pretty good year."

Prestage says two things contribute to the large number of turkeys grown in North Carolina: climate and location.

"We are about a day's drive from half of the nation's population, for our finished products," said Prestage.

While the price to buy a turkey in the grocery store has remained pretty much the same for the past few years, the cost of raising the turkeys and other farm animals has doubled in the past five years, mainly because of the increased price of corn.

Turkey on the menu is a year round option for homeowners, but about thirty percent of the birds produced each year are consumed during the holiday period. 

"Turkeys are very affordable, you know many of the retailers will use turkey as what they call a loss leader," said Prestage.  "They will actually sell turkeys for less than what it costs to purchase them and so Americans tend not to see a lot of shock in the grocery stores during Thanksgiving."

If it is on your dinner table this year, there is a very good chance that bird was grown right here in North Carolina.

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