Why Illinois Might Be Looking At A Thanksgiving Turkey Shortage
According to the experts, it's not just turkey that could be in short supply around here, it's chicken, too.
Parade ran a recent piece that explained the turkey shortage is predominantly of smaller turkeys: Many families had smaller gatherings for Thanksgiving 2020 and will likely do the same for Thanksgiving 2021, making the demand for smaller birds skyrocket above the available supply.
Oh, and then the price of grain went up, making the birds that are available more expensive. Grocers have also noted that there’s been a chicken shortage, with Tyson Chicken pointing the finger at labor shortages in the pandemic as the primary reason.
There Are A Variety Of Reasons, But The Bottom Line Is Going To Be Less Selection
After many of us decided or were forced to have smaller Thanksgiving gatherings last year because of the pandemic, smaller turkeys were very much the thing. Thinking that perhaps a pared-down holiday was going to happen again this year, the larger turkey supply companies went with the smaller birds again this year.
In other words, demand is up, while supply is down.
Some Of The Causes Of The Turkey Shortage Aren't Pandemic Or Supply Chain Related
At a place called Ho-Ka Turkey Farms in Waterman, Illinois, their owner Robert Kaufman says it's not the pandemic, and it's not the supply chain. It's people. As in, he can't get enough people to work.
“I’ve been real worried about getting temporary help for the dressing season,” Kauffman said.
He says he raises about 60,000 turkeys a year, most of which are sold in November. He usually brings in about 100 temporary workers. Right now, he has seven.
“I can dress with a skeleton crew but I don’t like to. And I won’t get the numbers I need.
According to Consumer Reports, most discussion around a national shortage is an overstatement, but turkeys under 16 pounds will be tricky to find, and you're better off buying your turkey frozen than fresh if you want to secure your bird.