"Clear difference": Farmers share what's driving higher Thanksgiving food costs
The price to put together a special meal this Thanksgiving holiday may cost you more than you were expecting, as farmers warn of a "dire situation" due to labor shortages, shipping delays and rising inflation costs. From your beloved stuffed turkey down to the sweet side of cranberry sauce, you should expect to pay more.
"Regardless of politics there's a clear difference in prices from last November to this one, "said Chris Bohrer, owner of Sho Nuf farms, a turkey farm located in Maryland.
Jay Yankey, of Yankey Farms in Nokesville, Virginia warned "we could be looking at a serious crisis down the road if farmers aren't able to produce. I don't know if we will end up with shortages with these high inputs, or they just won't produce anything. Some farms will have to go out of business, it is unfortunate and a dire situation."
The price for your turkey has gone up because input prices are on the rise. A ton of the same feed in 2020 cost Bohrer almost double when he put in a new order last week. Now, to compensate and ensure that he at least breaks even this season, he must charge his loyal customers more.
Many Americans are not too happy with paying a new price for their usual turkeys. The $2.40 per pound price for one of his fresh all-natural turkeys last year jumped to $2.75 per pound for the week of November 5, on par with the weekly Department of Agriculture turkey report. But even that price per pound will likely not hold and break the dollar by Thanksgiving dinner time.
"What hurts me the most is having to charge my loyal customers more than what they're used to," Turkey Hill Farm owner Pauline Smith said somberly. On top of having to raise her prices as well, she also noted shipping delays, trucking and fuel prices have all added to her already full plate. "We need a $5 part for that stapler that broke, and it will take 2 to 3 weeks to get here. So I can't box my turkeys and send them to people."
Inflation soared in October as well, with the Consumer Price Index climbing 0.9% marking a 6.2% increase in prices since the same time last year.
Labor shortages also play a huge factor in the long shipping delays and some machine parts not being available. Factories simply do not have enough hands or workers to meet the demand.
Smith, 35, said this should never happen in America. "America was founded on the fact that hardworking people lived here and were living the dream. Where are they now, we need them now, because otherwise all these small businesses are going to die."
Each farmer, steel plant owner, or commodity grower has found their own way to survive this challenging year. Those direct marketing their products will have a bit more leeway than commodity growers which are usually under contact already. In which case, they are stuck at the agreed price at the time of the deal.
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