Which state has the biggest turkeys?

The Holiday season is full of food, fun, and lots of turkeys. I'm referring to the dozy food, not the black Friday shoppers. This begs the question, where do all of these turkeys come from?


The choropleth chart above shows above shows the total pounds of turkey produced within each state. This chart is based upon a d3 choropleth information visualization built by Mike Bostock. To illustrate differences between states, each is colored according to a percentage of the state that has produced the most pounds of turkey. Since the USDA does not provide data for every state, some states have been filled in with the average value for unknown territories. Wow, it looks like Minnesota produces the most Turkey! Arkansas and South Carolina follow closely behind.

The chart below illustrates total turkey revenue by state. Do these two graphs look familiar? They should- they are virtually identical. The reason for this? Turkeys are priced as a commodity. This means that the total pounds of turkeys produced ~ total sales. Technically we could say that the total revenue by state a linear transformation of the turkey production.
Static choropleth chart of dollar revenue by state.

However, not all turkeys are created equal. The following chart illustrates the total number of turkeys produced by state.




While the difference is subtle, the fact that there is a difference illustrates there must be another factor to consider. It turns out that the missing factor is the average size of each turkey produced and sold from each state. See the chart below.


Now there are some substantial differences appear. To show these differences more clearly, remove those territories where the USDA has not provided any data. It looks like South Dakota, South Carolina, and Ohio have the largest Turkeys! Actually South Dakota has the largest at nearly 42 pounds per turkey. This is 10 pounds heavier than the average 32 pound turkey.




Is there enough meat to this analysis? Why does South Dakota have the largest turkeys? Do similar trends exist within other types of meat?

Tags: