Minnesota will raise an estimated 45 million turkeys in 2014, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.  That makes the state tops in the nation, followed by North Carolina (35 million), Arkansas (29 million), Indiana (17 million), Missouri (17 million), and Virginia (16 million).

The U.S. is the world’s largest turkey producer and largest exporter of turkey products. An estimated 46 million turkeys will show up on American tables this Thanksgiving, most of them from turkey production farms.

There are also more than 7 million wild turkeys across the U.S., thanks in part to habitat restoration efforts by the National Wild Turkey Federation, the U.S. Forest Service, and state conservation agencies.  Wild turkeys nearly faced extinction in the 1930s.

When it comes to cranberries, neighboring Wisconsin is the national leader.  It will produce 538 million pounds, according to federal estimates, followed by Massachusetts at 210 million pounds. New Jersey, Oregon and Washington expect harvests ranging from 16 to 55 million pounds.

Holiday status:  President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a holiday 151 years ago on October 3, 1863. He proclaimed that the last Thursday of November should be a national day of thanksgiving. President Franklin Roosevelt later clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

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