In an attempt to trim fat from their diets, Americans are gobbling a lot of turkey.

Turkey consumption has increased 126 percent from 1975 to 1991, with per capita consumption climbing from 8.5 to 19.2 pounds during that time period, John Hall, Norbest Inc.'s vice president of operations and corporate secretary, told the Governor's Task Force for Agribusiness Development Wednesday .Despite the growing demand for the low-fat meat, the state's poultry producers struggle to obtain capital. Without a source of credit, the state's turkey and egg industries face sizable cutbacks.

But C. Booth Wallentine, executive vice president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation and task force chairman, said the capital crunch cuts across all areas of agriculture.

"They (lending institutions) simply feel agriculture is a downer for them," Wallentine said.

Part of the problem stems from the cyclical nature of the industry. It's a long-term investment, industry officials say. Banks are reluctant to lend money to businesses that have a good year, then a bad year but on the average make money.

"They're `good time' bankers," a task force member lamented.

Wallentine suggested that the task force conduct a meeting to examine agriculture financing in Utah and how it relates to the overall economy.

One option may be asking the Legislature to provide loan guarantees to ensure agriculture has access to working capital. Wallentine said a number of states in the Midwest offer such programs.

State agriculture commissioner Miles "Cap" Ferry said bankers have told agriculture interests that their hands are tied by federal regulators. Bankers suggest that farmers contact their congressional delegation.

"We need to get a lot of different people to write letters," Ferry said.