Farmers Reduced Size Of Their Flocks, Increasing The Cost Of Turkeys

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 24, 2021

Americans may have to shell out more money for their turkey this year because farmers are cutting down on production in expectation of a second pandemic holiday, which might lead demand to fall. When comparing prices in the four weeks preceding up to Thanksgiving Day, NielsenIQ found that frozen whole uncooked turkeys were 15.6% more expensive than they had been in 2020.

Farmers Reduced Size Of Their Flocks, Increasing The Cost Of Turkeys

Because there were fewer turkeys raised this year, the price of turkey has gone up. At a time when inflation is already on the rise, and the global supply chain is struggling to be ready for the Christmas shopping season, this comes as a surprise. Customers were expected to cut down on their Thanksgiving feasts last year due to the outbreak that food producers and farmers predicted. Some people’s worries were eased this year by vaccines, but the quickly spreading Delta strain worried others in the same boat.

Farmers Reduced Size Of Their Flocks, Increasing The Cost Of Turkeys

Up to a year in advance, turkey breeders begin thinking about the size of their flocks for Thanksgiving. Grain and soybean prices have skyrocketed since then, and they’ve had to deal with it. A California turkey farmer, Heidi Diestel, claims that the Diestel Family Ranch in Sonora, California, raised roughly the same size for 2021 as they were for 2020, reducing worry about how the pandemic may affect demand. She explained that the ranch bought a few extra six- to ten-pound birds since they can be eaten all year round and not only at Christmas.

It was Diestel’s opinion that trying to predict the future in this natural setting was something that should be left to others. They weren’t planning on going there in the first place, after all. As the world’s largest turkey manufacturer, Butterball conducts a once-a-year survey of its consumers to discover their Thanksgiving plans. When the Delta variance began to spread, the firm started pestering customers with questions once again. According to Al Jansen, executive vice president of the firm, customer enthusiasm for large family and friend get-togethers waned in September.

As temperatures drop and people spend more time inside due to the winter weather, the United States has experienced daily spikes in infections over the previous two weeks. Thanksgiving is still a big deal to Jansen, who says that everyone wants to participate.

Rather than being a simple party, this one had taken on a new meaning. Frozen hen turkeys, smaller female birds, and turkey breasts plummeted to historic lows this year, with hen turkeys down 19 percent and turkey breasts down 51 percent from last year, respectively, by the end of the year September, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

For wholesale hen turkeys, the FDA reported a price increase of roughly $1.44 per pound in September, the biggest since the monitoring began in 2005. The number of bigger tom turkeys in cold storage facilities is rising, according to official figures. In the wake of the pandemic’s collateral damage, Butterball’s Jansen speculates that smaller sizes may be less standard than in previous years.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

Sign Up For Our Daily Dose Of Hot News