- Turkey farmers in the US face higher costs for feed, electricity and fuel due to an inflation surge.
- Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, told Insider that all its costs are up by 25%.
- Many Hands, a farm in Massachusetts, hasn’t raised its prices as they “try to charge what’s fair.”
US turkey farmers are grappling with higher costs for feed, electricity and fuel due to soaring inflation, forcing many to charge more for their turkeys this Thanksgiving.
The cost of turkey is up by more than a fifth compared to last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, as a result of supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine, while some farms have also been hit by bird flu.
Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, told Insider the cost of rearing a turkey had jumped by a quarter compared with last year but has only raised prices by up to 16%.
Jenn Brezniak, 31, who works at the farm, said: “All expenses across the board are up 25%. The cost of feed, electricity, fuel, propane, oil and electricity is skyrocketing.”
The farm typically sells about 2,700 turkeys to retailers and locals, with the same number again taken by wholesalers.
“The feed costs have gone up astronomically, as has the price of electricity,” Brezniak said. “The cost to run all the freezers, refrigerators, lights and feeders is insane. But I don’t think anyone is in farming for the money … it’s more a labor of love.”
The farm breeds, hatches, raises and processes an average of 8,000 turkeys a year.
“It was a very difficult decision to raise prices,” Brezniak said. “It’s a balancing act to cover all our bills and make ends meet and not feel stressed.”
Indiana-based Becker Farms told CBS News that the cost of feed is 40% higher this year and they are paying more for fuel, labor and packaging. As a result, their prices are up by almost 9%.
Many Hands, an organic farm and sustainability center in Barre, Massachusetts, told Insider that it hasn’t raised its prices. The farm typically sells turkeys for about $6 a pound, meaning the average Thanksgiving turkey it sells costs about $100.
Julie Rawson says her Many Hands farm, which has been operating for four decades raises about 87 turkeys, has not seen the cost of grain rise too much.
“The birds live outside, so electricity is not an issue and we have solar panels so we get money back from that for the electricity we produce,” Rawson said. “The feed price is not up substantially and we are sustainable so we try to work within the confines of nature and are less impacted by market forces.”
Many Hands uses certified organic grain, which may cost less than feed used by other farmers.
“I always try to charge what is fair as we are trying to make a decent living, but we would put costs up if we have to pay more for slaughtering as those costs have gone up,” Rawson said.
“In the pandemic people quit their crappy jobs and started to look at life differently and take more control. Lots of people left the industry so there’s been a real shake up in the workforce,” she added.
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