Minnesota turkeys are stuffing outbound trucks

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When you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner in the Midwestern U.S., remember to be thankful for Minnesota. The Land of a Thousand Lakes is also the number-one state for turkey production, by a wide margin. So it’s no big surprise that the Minneapolis market area was also the land of a thousand loads (per day) in the first half of November, as fresh turkeys got stuffed into temp-controlled trailers during the run-up to Thanksgiving.

There were also hundreds of trucks available, so the load-to-truck ratio out of Minneapolis didn’t go above 5-to-1 last week, when the national average for reefers rose from 7.0 to 7.5 loads per truck.

DAT load boards provide the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 279 million loads and trucks posted annually, plus insights into current spot market and contract rates based on $57 billion in real transactions.

Even with thousands of reefer loads available in the Minneapolis area, load-to-truck ratios have not been especially high in November. That’s because there are plenty of trucks available in the Twin Cities at this time of year.

Minnesota is also a major source of corn, potatoes and peas for your Thanksgiving table. At other times of the year, we rely on Minnesota agriculture for soybeans, sugar beets, and barley, as well as beef and dairy products. The peak season for reefers in the Minneapolis market is late summer, not late fall.

Top 8 states for turkey production

Americans consumed more than 244 million turkeys last year, which amounts to 5.3 billion pounds of turkey meat, or just over 16 pounds per person, according to the USDA. Almost three-quarters of those birds grew up in one of these 8 states:

  1. Minnesota
  2. North Carolina
  3. Arkansas
  4. Indiana
  5. Missouri
  6. Virginia
  7. Iowa
  8. California

The USDA reported that of the 244 million turkeys in 2017, about 45 million (18%) were served up at Thanksgiving, and another 40 million birds gave their all for either Christmas or Easter dinners — although ham is 15 times more popular on those holidays. Remember to follow food safety guidelines when transporting fresh and frozen turkeys, and when preparing them at home, so everyone can stay healthy.

Are you hauling food for the holidays? That’s poultry in motion!

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Jeff Hopper is the Chief Marketing Officer at DAT. In that role, he oversees the customer service department, which houses