SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With just two days until Thanksgiving experts say if you don’t have a turkey by now, you might not get one.
The United States is headed for a record-breaking number of bird flu cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million birds affected so far.
In California, the California Poultry Federation says they’ve lost 300,000 birds in just two months.
“I’m not sure what’s left today, but I’m sure if you buy organic and free-range, turkey will cost 30% more than last year,” said Bill Mattos, the California Poultry Federation president.
For local producers like Ken Mitchell, it’s concerning.
“The turkey flock that I had, it did go to market two weeks ago... We just struggle with a lack of numbers, which is affecting the Thanksgiving market,” said Mitchell.
But while the consumer is paying more, the farmer isn’t making more. Mitchell says this could be the beginning of high prices.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the height of it yet, but people are having to choose what they need and what they can afford,” said Mitchell.
Turkeys cost almost $28.96 for 16 pounds. That’s $1.81 more per pound than last year. A 21% increase.
Pie crusts up 26%, dinner rolls up 22 and even stuffing saw a 69% price hike.
Turkey farmers say expect high prices for at least the next two Thanksgivings, while they regrow supply and deal with the future of inflation.