The Department of Agriculture says Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine is one reason why Thanksgiving dinner costs more than it was last year.
A USDA memo this month said turkey prices will be higher due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this year, resulting in 8 million turkey deaths in 2022. But the USDA also said, “Russia’s war on Ukraine and droughts across the United States are “other factors” driving up the prices of Thanksgiving staples.
The USDA did not respond to questions from Fox News Digital about how Russia’s war against Ukraine might affect Turkey prices. President Biden and his administration have often blamed Russia for the surge in inflation and referred to higher food and energy prices as “Putin’s price hike.”
However, data from the Biden administration shows that inflation began to rise almost immediately after Biden took office in February 2021.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, the Biden administration mentioned this Consumer prices increased by 7.5%. in the year ending January 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Inflation will rise to 9.1% in the year ending June 2022, but sharp increases were seen before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine is a major grain exporter, and Russia’s efforts to block these exports have sent prices skyrocketing. But again, the prices of fodder grain were rising along with the prices of many other commodities before the Russian invasion.
The USDA memo said the Biden administration made progress in combating price hikes at the grocery store by noting that the 0.4% increase in grocery prices in October was “the smallest increase since December of last year.”
This memo also underestimated the impact of inflation on the cost of Thanksgiving dinner compared to non-government estimates. She said the average cost of Thanksgiving retail staples like fresh turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and green beans will cost only about 1% this year compared to last year, and replacing frozen turkey would mean an increase of 6%.
But the American Farm Bureau Federation says the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner is up 20% year-over-year. The farm bureau said the cost of stuffing mix, frozen pie crusts, whipping cream, frozen peas and dinner rolls all increased by more than 20%.
While these prices may remain high throughout the holiday, turkey prices seen in stores have not risen as much. Grocery stores typically lower turkey prices around Thanksgiving and use turkeys as loss leaders to attract customers, said Beth Bryding, vice president of communications and marketing for the National Turkey Federation.
However, she said prices seen in physical stores in the days leading up to Thanksgiving are higher than they were last year and have gone from about 93 cents a pound to $1 a pound, an increase of about 7%.
The FAO and the USDA said that despite this year’s bout of bird flu, there are still plenty of turkeys for people to buy for Thanksgiving. Breeding said about 40 million turkeys will be consumed over the Thanksgiving holiday.