- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota has retained its ranking as the nation’s top turkey producing state despite this year’s bird flu outbreak.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that the country will raise 228 million turkeys this year, down 4 percent from the number raised in 2014.

Minnesota lost about 5 million turkeys and 4 million egg-laying hens in the outbreak, which resulted in the deaths of 48 million birds overall. The USDA predicts Minnesota producers will raise 40 million turkeys this year, down 12 percent from 2014.

North Carolina, which escaped the outbreak, is the No. 2 turkey producing state. It’s expected to raise 29 million turkeys, up 2 percent from last year. Arkansas, which had only one farm affected, is third at 27 million turkeys, down 10 percent from last year.

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