Turkey Prices Rise During Holidays Due To Bird Flu

By Chloe Nordquist, Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, November 9, 2015 - 8:21am
Updated: Friday, November 13, 2015 - 2:12pm

Turkey prices are already high compared to last year, and they are expected to rise even more going into the holiday season.

In 2014, the United States produced about 5.8 billion pounds of turkey, but due to this summer’s bird flu, the United States Department of Agriculture predicts production will be down 8.5 percent.

The flu came from wild ducks and geese that came down from Canada and the Antarctic. Fifty-four million chickens have also died from the sickness.

The effects are already being felt nationwide, especially in the Midwest and the state of Minnesota. However, this could be beneficial for Arizona.

“The good thing for Arizona is that Arizona is positioned now to where there’s a lot of poultry operations looking at moving to Arizona because we don’t have the same problem with the avian flu that they have in the Midwest,” Arizona Department of Agriculture Director Mark Killian said.

Geese and other birds generally do not fly over Arizona because the state is not a major flyway, according to Killian.

“Arizona is being looked at as a safe haven for poultry operations because we’ve not had any avian flu here in Arizona,” Killian said. “We are relatively confident that if we continue our good biohazard protections for our state we can keep it out of Arizona.”

In October, the price of turkey per pound was 17 percent higher than last year. Right now, the supply for turkeys is down about 200 million pounds due to deaths caused by the avian flu.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect turkey prices last year.

Updated 11/13/2015 at 2:12 p.m.

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