Turkey supply, price not a problem this year

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As reported in High Plains Journal. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be able to easily get a turkey for Thanksgiving this year. And you probably will not pay any more for it than usual. It may not be the exact size or weight you wanted, though.

Ron Kardel, an Iowa turkey farmer and chairman of the National Turkey Federation, said turkey growers had to make some hard decisions beginning back in the spring, when the first wave of lockdowns hit as a result of COVID-19. “We sell turkeys mostly to restaurants and delis,” said Kardel—about half of all turkey sales, in fact, go to restaurants. “They were hit hardest” by the closures.

Many turkeys are sold to popular sandwich chains like Subway and Jimmy Johns. Unlike burger and fast food restaurants, those chains typically don’t have drive-through windows to take them through lockdowns. Turkey sales to those outlets dropped about 70%, causing a build-up of frozen turkeys among wholesalers. Some states relaxed labeling requirements to allow more retail sales of turkeys, which helped. “Ground turkey sales have also done well,” Kardel said.

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