BRYAN, Texas — It’s almost Thanksgiving, and turkey shortages are causing prices to rise by an average of twenty percent.
According to Texas A&M’s AgriLife poultry experts, a turkey shortage emerged this year, with a 5% decrease in the production of meat.
“A lot of people probably think it has something to do with the pandemic and resulting supply chain issues," said Justin Benavidez, assistant professor of agricultural economics with AgriLife. "This is actually one of those rare situations where the pandemic didn’t have much to do with the supply and demand of turkey.”
Benavidez explained that over the past few years, Americans have been diversifying our choices of holiday meats and dishes beyond just turkey, resulting in a slight ripple effect in the market.
Ar the Readfield Meat Market in Bryan, owner Richard Ruffino isn’t worried about not having enough turkeys for his customers.
“We smoke quite a few every year," Ruffino said. "We order those probably in March or April, so those are already in and we’re already smoking those. The fresh turkeys are already ordered, and those will be in before Thanksgiving, about seven or eight days.”
And the order requests have already come rolling in.
“We’re about $0.30 per pound higher than we were last year," Ruffino said. "...We had to pay more for [the turkey], and we’re absorbing the cost some, too. We’re putting less markup on them."
Justin Benavidez said the reason behind the higher price tag is relatively straightforward.
“Essentially what has happened, is the decrease in production has outpaced the decrease in demand at this point," he commented.
So, for customers wanting to enjoy turkey this Thanksgiving, Benavidez advises that they be flexible with the size of bird they may get, be prepared to pay a little bit more, and order now to store in the deep freeze.
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