Unexpectedly Intriguing!
20 November 2006

Last year, for no good reason at all, we dove into the seamy underbelly of U.S. turkey production and showed what we had long expected: the turkeys occupying prime table real estate in the United States are indeed getting bigger!

This year, we've updated our analysis of the very revealing statistics and we've found some disturbing trends that are not being reported by the mainstream media. Or even the Food Network! That's why we've opted to present our dull data analysis as sensationalistically as possible! For instance, did you know that the volume of U.S. turkey production has plunged below levels not seen since 1989?

Yes, it's true! Our chart above reveals that last year's production of 256 million turkeys is not only 5 million less than 1989's production of 261 million turkeys, it's also 47 million below the peak year's production of 303 million turkeys in the U.S. in 1996!

You would think the media might notice some 47 million fewer turkeys walking around U.S. farms. Could they be in on the conspiracy?! Are they part of the turkey-industrial complex?

What's more, the combined live weight of the turkeys produced in 2005 (7.207 billion pounds) is holding roughly level with the combined live weight of the turkeys produced in 1996 (7.233 billion pounds):

That's right! 47 million fewer birds and their combined live weight only dropped by 26 million pounds? But wait – things get even more disturbing as the combined Ready-To-Cook (RTC) - Inspected weight of U.S. turkeys has increased by some 58 million pounds over 1996's 5.466 billion pounds to 2005's 5.504 billion pounds.

Combined, these facts can only mean one thing: today's turkeys in the U.S., despite being substantially fewer in number, are much meatier than the turkeys of less than a decade ago. Oh, the horror, as this can only mean that the increasing productivity of the U.S. turkey farmer is growing unrepressed! The proof is in our next chart:

The turkeys of 2005 weighed in at 28.15 pounds (live) on average and their ready-to-cook weight is 21.50 pounds. That's a weight increase of 7.2 lbs (live) and 5.5 lbs (RTC), or rather 34.4% (for both weights) of the average weight of a turkey in 1989. Compared to 1996, that's a weight increase of 4.28 pounds (live) and 3.53 pounds (RTC), for gains of 18% and 20% respectively.

We think it's time for action! Only government subsidies have proven capable of keeping the growth of productivity in the U.S. agricultural industry under control. Only government subsidies can remove the pressures of having to compete in the free market, keeping those who receive them from having to work as hard as those who do not in improving what they produce.

Otherwise, what's to stop these free-market turkey farmers from achieving their ultimate goal – the creation of the "super turkey," which would weigh over 7.2 billion pounds and be able to meet the annual turkey consumption needs of the entire United States. Write and call your representatives today!

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