By Garrett Hawkins
As we approach the holiday season, everyone knows how much damage inflation has done to Americans’ pocketbooks and retirement accounts. We have all been fretting about higher costs at both Thanksgiving and Christmas over the next five weeks. From pie crusts to presents, costs are skyrocketing.
The first round of data is out, and there’s no sugarcoating it. Our wallets, like the delicious turkey, are going to feel quite cooked come Thanksgiving Day.
For the past 37 years, Farm Bureau members throughout the nation have gone to their local grocery stores and reported back the prices of a dozen key components for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Unfortunately, American Farm Bureau’s informal Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey showed the highest increase since the survey’s inception, posting a nationwide average of $64.05 for a feast for 10 people. While checking in at less than $6.50 per person, the total is up an eye-opening 20% from last year’s average of $53.31, and up 37% since 2020.
Most notably, a 16-pound turkey will eat up nearly half the increase at about $29, up 21% from last year.
A dozen dinner rolls are up 22% and will cost about $3.75.
Traditional sweet potatoes and a gallon of whole milk are both running just shy of $4 up 16% and 11%, respectively, from a year ago.
Now, it’s not all gloom and doom. Cranberry lovers are the real winners this year, as a 12-ounce bag of fresh berries is down 14% to $2.57.
We’re all aware of the factors that have played into the higher costs in 2022. Supply chain disruptions have jolted Missouri farmers and ranchers all the way back to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and have only grown more troublesome this calendar year. The war in Ukraine continues, impacting exports of grain, fertilizer and other necessary products for both global food production and consumption. Surging Federal spending has increased the deficit and caused inflation to spike. However, our farmer and rancher members have not only risen to the challenge to make adjustments and maintain production levels, but county Farm Bureaus throughout Missouri continue to partner with food banks to help address hunger year-round.
Farmers and ranchers continue to work hard to provide a healthy, safe and abundant supply of the Thanksgiving foods we all love. Fortunately, fears of holiday shortages seem to be fading, and we should have enough turkey to go around the table this year. Hopefully, by next Thanksgiving, rampant inflation will be a thing of the past and we will have a more affordable feast to celebrate. This year we will remain thankful for the blessings we have received and pray for an abundant harvest in 2023.
Garrett Hawkins, a farmer from St. Clair County, is President of Missouri Farm Bureau.