Record turkey prices expected for Thanksgiving

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WASHINGTON — Families can expect to pay record high prices at the grocery store for turkey this upcoming holiday season thanks to the impacts of the bird flu and inflation. 

American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed turkey and egg costs in their latest Market Intel. The retail price for fresh boneless, skinless turkey breast reached a record high of $6.70 per pound in September, 112% higher than the same time in 2021 when prices were $3.16 per pound. 

The previous record high price was $5.88 per pound in November 2015, during the 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak.

Inflation is adding to the price hikes. All retail food prices were 11.4% higher in August compared to the same time last year. Despite the higher prices, there should be enough turkeys available for the Thanksgiving demand.

It is important to understand that farmers aren’t profiting from record high retail prices. High supply costs from feed, fuel, fertilizer and labor make raising turkeys even more expensive. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent Farm Sector Income Forecast predicts record high total production costs, increasing by 17.8% from 2021 to $437.4 billion in 2022. While egg prices have come down from record highs in July, the average price for a dozen grade A eggs is $2.34, 27% higher than the same time in 2021, and 44% above the five-year average of $1.29.

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