The Ottumwa Courier

November 9, 2012

The cost of Thanksgiving

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Are you worried that ol’ Tom Turkey and all the trimmings may cost a lot more this Thanksgiving?

Heather Lilienthal of the Iowa Farm Bureau says that despite a rough year for crops and the overall economy, that the average price tag of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner remains steady in 2012.

She says that according to the recent American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey, a family of 10 can enjoy the typical Thanksgiving meal, which features a 16-pound turkey, bread stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and the trimmings, for just under $50.

“There was only a 1 percent increase from last year’s total meal cost,” Lilienthal said. “But, prices are beginning to creep upward for poultry and meat.”

Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau, says the Thanksgiving feast  remains a real bargain for American families.

“The bounty of our flocks and fields can still be put on the table for less than $5 per person,” Miller said. “Even in the face of weather challenges that cut production of corn and soybeans on many Iowa farms by 30 percent of more, the Thanksgiving meal this year has risen in cost by less than 1 percent.”

The total cost of the dinner has steadily climbed in recent years. In 2008, the cost average was $44.61; in 2009 — $42.91; 2010 — $43.47; 2011 — $49.20; and this year — $49.48.

The Farm Bureau said turkey accounted for most of the increase in the dinner’s cost. The price for a 16-pound turkey crept up by 66 cents to $22.23, compared to $21.57 last year.

As the price of grain for feed continues to inch upward after a drought-stricken harvest, livestock farmers are making adjustments for the increased costs of feeding those animals.

“We did have some high prices for soybeans and corn, but it’s less than 1 percent more this year,” said John Sandbothe, a regional manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

For more details, visit