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September 01, 2020 1:28pm
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Thanksgiving turkey prices higher due to 'huge increases' in raising, processing costs, turkey farmers say

Thanksgiving turkey prices are high due to increased food and processing costs that producers are forced to pass on to consumers, turkey farmers told Fox News.

Thanksgiving bird prices have soared since last year due to rising feed, fuel and processing costs, ruffling the feathers of consumers, a turkey-farming couple told Fox News.

"We've seen huge increases in our input costs all along the way," said Kyle Scott, who co-owns Old Glory Farm in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, with his wife Deanna Scott. "Feed being the largest one, then we pay for a [Department of Agriculture]-inspected processor to process and package our birds when they're ready, and that's labor driven, of course. That's more expensive as well."


"We need fuel for everything and that's just crazy high right now, and it has been all year," Kyle continued. "Those have been huge drivers in our increased input costs."

The average Thanksgiving feast for 10 people has increased by 20% since last year, according to a survey from The American Farm Bureau. The survey also found that the centerpiece of the meal, a 16-pound turkey, has increased by 21% since last year, a new record for turkey prices in the 37-year-old survey. 

The cost of other Thanksgiving favorites such as pumpkin pie mix, cubed stuffing, rolls, green beans and sweet potatoes have also increased.

"What's also interesting this year is that even though our demand is higher than ever, we had to raise less turkeys than last year because our processor didn't have enough help to process enough," Deanna said. 

The Scotts made appointments in January — 11 months in advance — for their 2022 Thanksgiving turkeys to be processed this month. The birds won't even hatch until the end of July, according to Kyle.


"So they weren't even alive yet and we had appointments for them," Deanna said. 

The couple said an outbreak of avian flu earlier this year has also caused prices to rise.

"Earlier this year, there were some poultry plants that just completely had to be shut down," Deanna said. "There's a lot of turkeys that were just gone, wiped off."

Demand was so high this year that the turkey-farming couple is already accepting deposits for their 2023 turkeys.

"We actually sold out before Halloween," Deanna said. "We have a lot of our regular customers who missed out completely."

To watch a full interview with Deanna and Kyle Scott, click here

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