St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Mark Dayton took care of a Thanksgiving holiday tradition Monday morning by issuing an official pardon to a Minnesota-grown turkey.

The annual event celebrates Minnesota’s turkey industry, which was hit hard this year by an outbreak of avian influenza. On an average year, Minnesota’s turkey farmers raise around 46 million birds, but officials say that output was reduced to around 40 million this year. Despite the setbacks caused by the bird flu, Minnesota remains the largest producer of turkeys in the US. States.

Officials estimate the industry generates about $800 million in economic activity each year and supports 26,000 Minnesota jobs.

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