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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Consumers have good news to chew on this Thanksgiving as food prices continue to drop. A traditional, Texas-style Thanksgiving dinner for 10 will cost $46.48 this year, down 31 cents from last year, according to the special Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Thanksgiving Meal Report.

The survey records the cost of 10 holiday staples—including turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pecan pie. The 2015 report shows the average cost of this year’s holiday dinner declined from $46.79 last year.

It’s the second consecutive year for lower prices during the holiday season.

“Preparing large holiday meals can be expensive,” said Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) President Russell W. Boening. “But this year, Texans can budget a little less for the traditional Thanksgiving meal.”

Despite reports suggesting a decrease in turkey supplies due to avian influenza earlier this year, Texas shoppers shouldn’t feel the pinch at the cash register. Survey shoppers found the price of a 16-pound, frozen, self-basting, young tom turkey to be just under last year’s price.

The one-cent per-pound decrease can be attributed to lower fuel and grain prices.

In addition to the turkey, eight other items decreased in price: whole milk (down 13.28 percent); 9-inch pie shells, frozen (down 7.33 percent); green beans, frozen (down 7.19 percent); cubed stuffing, herb seasoning (down 5.97 percent); whipping cream (down 4.62 percent); brown and serve rolls, 12 per package (down 3.35 percent); sweet potatoes, fresh (down 1.06 percent); and cranberry sauce, jellied (down .72 percent).

A large, global supply of wheat is a driving factor in low prices for wheat-derived products. And dairy prices have decreased as production has increased.

“It’s been a mixed year for Texas agriculture. Grain and livestock prices have remained steady or decreased throughout the year, but many input costs farmers and ranchers have to pay have not lessened. Some crop prices are very low right now,” Boening said.

Texans will pay more for one Thanksgiving staple this year—pecans, as shelled and halved nuts were up 11.07 percent. Increased exports for the popular Texas nut are the reason for price increases.

TFB’s fourth quarter Grocery Price Watch survey, taken in conjunction with the 2015 Thanksgiving Meal Report, also indicated a slight decrease for household staples. Results from the quarterly survey of 16 common food products decreased seven cents from $47.49 in the third quarter to $47.42 in the fourth quarter of this year.

TFB’s Thanksgiving Meal Report and Grocery Price Watch prices were reported by 39 volunteer shoppers at grocery stores statewide from Nov. 5-12. TFB has released its Grocery Price Watch survey quarterly since March 2009.

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