If you are shopping for that traditional holiday turkey, you may find it costing more this year. Gary Crawford has more.
It all supposed started back in the year 1621 with that first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the Indians, somehow we got the idea that they had turkey at that celebration. But, actually to many historians…”it’s anybody’s guess exactly what birds they were eating.” Well, agriculture department historian Ann Effland, says all we’ve got really is an entry in a journal that one of the Pilgrims kept, which merely says…”they had gone out to shoot wild foul, so it’s not absolutely certain that they had turkey, but they might have…”it was a native bird to that area, but there were also ducks, and geese and all kinds of game birds, but somehow it’s the turkey that has emerged in all this, so now…”the turkey is now the necessary, central part to making Thanksgiving Day American meal.”
Or according to as one agricultural department economist that tracks turkey trends told us…”it’s not a decision as to what you’re going to have for Thanksgiving Dinner, there’s going to be a turkey.”
Ah, but at what cost? That’s what we asked economist Dave Harvey, well the news for us Thanksgiving shoppers on that score may not be what you want to hear. Basically...”you’ll be paying more than you did last year.”
You see, back in 2008 there was a big run up in grain prices, feed for turkeys shot up, and feed is the single biggest expense for turkey producers. At the same time, there was a big supply of turkeys, so big, that producers were getting lower prices and they had to cut back production and they did. Last year…”production was down almost 9%, and production, so far, over the first nine months of 2010 production is down an additional 2%.” Sending turkey stocks down about 25% sending wholesale turkey prices up, so that this holiday season they are…”about 25% above the previous year.”
Now, every thanksgiving stores usually give deep discounts on turkeys, selling turkeys for far less than what they paid for them. Now, why would they do that? Dave Harvey says that because Thanksgiving is not just a meal, it is a big feast, a big deal…”so, they discount the turkey in the hopes that while you’re there you’ll stock up on everything else you’ll need for that big feast.”
Now, the big question is how much can they discount when they may be paying up to 25% more than they did last year, Dave Harvey says probably not enough to keep prices at last year’s levels. Although, on store here in the DC area has been selling whole frozen birds at $.47 cents a pound, the average wholesale price here running $1.05. So, that’s still a pretty good deal for thanksgiving shoppers, and Harvey says there’s still plenty of turkeys out there to buy…no shortage. So, it should be fairly easy to continue the tradition that the Pilgrims supposedly started over 380 years ago.