There was a sales trend last year of consumers wanting smaller birds for Thanksgiving. And that trend is continuing this year. Pete Klaphake is the president of Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council. He says turkey will not be hard to get this year, but if you want a particular size of bird, you’ll want to get that turkey order in now.
Klaphake explains turkey producers cannot raise smaller birds at the drop of a hat. Shaving three pounds off of a goal weight changes feed rations, employment and processing schedules. Farms have had to remodel buildings to suit smaller birds and new schedules, and the margin between production cost and profit are tighter since smaller birds cost less in the grocery store.
No different from the hog and beef industries, Minnesota’s turkey industry has faced labor shortages. Minnesota is No. 1 in the nation for turkey production. The workforce issue has leveled off, but the state is still struggling like the rest of the U.S.
When it comes to supply chain disruption, turkey producers are currently dealing with micro ingredient shortages for their bird’s feed. And there’s transportation hiccups in getting the birds to the processing plants.