Turkey prices fall as Thanksgiving approaches

The cost of purchasing a turkey could be lower this Thanksgiving, thanks to a drop in avian influenza cases and a recovery of the turkey population in the United States. American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed turkey and egg prices in the latest Market Intel report, which states the average price for an 8-to-16 pound turkey typically served for Thanksgiving was $1.27 per pound in August 2023, 22% lower than the same time last year.

“The status of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) is much different now than it was just a year ago,” the Market Intel states. “Migratory birds are a major vector of this virus, which naturally makes spring and fall migration high risk times. Detections from the current outbreak peaked during March 2022 with 20.96 million birds affected before gradually falling to just 540 birds in September 2023. This can be compared to 8.15 million birds affected in September 2022. June marked the first month with no detections since the outbreak began in February 2022.”

Egg production also saw a year-to-year increase, with 9.38 billion eggs produced in September 2023, a 2% increase from the same time last year. The national average retail price for shell eggs was $2.04 per dozen in August 2023, down 30% from $3.11 in August 2023. This is nearly 60% lower than the record average price of $4.82 set in January 2023.

AFBF tracks the cost of a full Thanksgiving dinner every year in its annual marketbasket survey. Full details on the cost to cook a Thanksgiving feast for 10 will be released on Nov. 15.

“A robust turkey population is good news for farmers and families across the country,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The resilience of our food supply is an example of the strength of American agriculture, which is helped in part by the farm bill. We urge Congress to focus on passing the farm bill by the end of the year to ensure farmers can continue to put food on the tables of America’s families.”

To read the full Market Intel on turkey and egg prices, click here.

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