No matter where Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, the turkey on the holiday table probably came from Minnesota, the top U.S. producer. The state raised 46.5 million birds in 2011, 45 percent more than its nearest competitor, North Carolina, according to government data. The Minnesota turkey industry generated $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion last year, according to an estimate by Thomas Elam, president of consultant FarmEcon, who has studied poultry economics for 30 years. "It's a pretty good-sized business and pretty important to the state," Elam said. Here are some more turkey tidbits:


The biggest birds: While Minnesota produces the most birds, the biggest ones, by far, are raised in Ohio, where farmers produced about 210 million pounds of meat from 5 million turkeys, U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show. That equates to about 42 pounds per turkey.

Putting food on the table, twice: Each Minnesota turkey generates about $17.46 in direct economic activity for Minnesota, said Lara Durben, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, citing a study conducted last year through the University of Minnesota. The state produces about 20 percent of total U.S. turkey output.

Behind Minnesota: North Carolina raised 32 million birds last year, and Arkansas, the No. 3 producer, reached 30.5 million, according to the USDA's April report on poultry production and value.