Thanksgiving Turkey Prices Soar Amid ‘Huge Increases’ in Feeding, Processing Costs

by Taylor Cunningham
Thomas Barwick/Getty

Thanksgiving Day has Americans feeling the weight of inflation once more as turkey prices soar due to increased feeding and processing costs.

Kyle and Deanna Scott, owners of Old Glory Farm in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, explained to Fox News this week that the price of running their business has spiked. And always, the burden has passed to the consumers.

“We’ve seen huge increases in our input costs all along the way,” said Kyle. “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.”

Kyle added that “crazy high” fuel prices have also hurt their operation because they need it “for everything.”

“Those have been huge drivers in our increased input costs,” he continued.

Since just last year, the price for an average 10-person Thanksgiving meal has jumped 20%, according to a survey from The American Farm Bureau, and the turkey alone costs 21% more, which sets a new 37-year record.

The Avian Flu Outbreak and Labor Shortages Have Also Caused Trouble For the Industry

The Scotts shared that they also had higher demand in 2022. But thanks to labor shortages, their processor couldn’t handle the influx. So, the farm had to raise fewer birds.

To get the turkeys to the processor, they even had to make appointments 11 months in advance. By that time, the birds hadn’t even hatched.

 “So they weren’t even alive yet and we had appointments for them,” Deanna added. 

And the troubles didn’t stop with inflation and labor issues. The avian flu has also caused troubles for the Scotts and for thousands of other poultry farmers.

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

Because of the supply and demand issues this season, Old Glory Farm started taking deposits for 2023 Thanksgiving turkeys this fall.

“We actually sold out before Halloween,” Deanna shared. “We have a lot of our regular customers who missed out completely.”