USDA blames Russia for rising Thanksgiving dinner costs

Russia’s ongoing struggle in Ukraine may price your Thanksgiving dinner greater than final yr, the Agriculture Division says.

This yr’s outbreak of extremely pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which has led to the deaths of 8 million turkeys by 2022, will drive turkey costs larger, a USDA memo this month mentioned. However the USDA added that “Russia’s struggle on Ukraine and drought in the USA” are different elements which can be “pushing up costs of Thanksgiving staples.”

The USDA didn’t reply to questions from Fox Information Digital about how Russia’s struggle in opposition to Ukraine is affecting turkey costs. President Biden and his administration have typically blamed Russia for the broad enhance in inflation and referred to excessive meals and power costs as “Putin’s worth hike.”

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President Biden’s Division of Agriculture blames Russia for prime costs for Thanksgiving staples.
(Win McNamee/Getty Pictures)

Nonetheless, the Biden administration’s personal information exhibits that inflation started to rise as quickly as Biden took workplace in February 2021.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that client costs rose 7.5% within the yr ending January 2022 below the Biden administration, shortly earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022. Inflation will rise to 9.1% within the yr ending June 2022, however the sharpest enhance was seen earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine is a serious exporter of grain, and Russia’s try to dam these exports has led to cost rises. However once more, the costs of feed grains rose together with the costs of many commodities earlier than the Russian invasion.

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Thanksgiving will be more expensive this year, but the Biden administration is downplaying the cost increase.

Thanksgiving shall be dearer this yr, however the Biden administration is downplaying the associated fee enhance.

USDA’s memo mentioned the Biden administration has made progress in combating excessive grocery costs, noting that the 0.4% enhance in grocery costs in October was the “smallest enhance since December of final yr.”

The notice additionally underestimates the influence inflation has on the price of Thanksgiving dinner in comparison with non-government estimates. It mentioned the common worth of Thanksgiving retail staples like contemporary turkey, candy potatoes, cranberries and inexperienced beans shall be 1% larger this yr than final yr, and a 6% enhance if frozen turkey is changed.

However the US Farm Bureau Federation stories that the common price of Thanksgiving dinner is up 20% in comparison with final yr. Costs for stuffing combine, frozen pie crust, whipping cream, frozen peas and dinner rolls are up greater than 20%, the Farm Bureau mentioned.

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Thanksgiving won't be much more expensive this year, though non-governmental estimates, led by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, expect a 20% price increase.  (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Thanksgiving will not be far more costly this yr, although non-governmental estimates, led by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, count on a 20% worth enhance. (Picture by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Pictures)

Whereas these costs stay excessive all through the vacations, store-bought turkey costs do not enhance a lot. Beth Breeding, vp of communications and advertising for the Nationwide Turkey Affiliation, mentioned grocery shops sometimes decrease turkey costs nearer to Thanksgiving and use turkeys as loss leaders to draw prospects.

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Nonetheless, he mentioned costs seen in precise shops within the days main as much as Thanksgiving had been larger than final yr, rising from about 93 cents a pound to $1 a pound, a rise of about 7%.

Regardless of the influence of hen flu this yr, breeding and the USDA mentioned there are nonetheless loads of turkeys for folks to purchase for Thanksgiving. About 40 million turkeys shall be consumed over the Thanksgiving vacation, in line with the breeder.

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