Iowa Farmers Support Local, State Food Pantries

Iowa Farmers Support Local, State Food Pantries

Farm Bureau survey shows Thanksgiving dinner costs are rising. As the holiday season begins, Iowa farmers are contributing to local and state food pantries.

Setting the Thanksgiving table continues to be an affordable task, according to the recent American Farm Bureau Federation Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey. For less than $5 per person, a family of 10 can enjoy the typical Thanksgiving meal that features a 16-pound turkey, bread stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and the trimmings.

This price is up slightly from last year due to a combination of climbing energy and transportation prices and global demand for products such as turkey and dairy. "We've seen strong and steady demand for turkey and dairy products, both in the United States and globally," says Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for Iowa Farm Bureau. "Because of that demand, production of turkey and dairy has grown as well, and our farmers are keeping on pace to meet those demands. That is a positive statistic for our state's economy."

To help support programs to alleviate hunger and help poor people cope with rising food prices, Iowa Farm Bureau is encouraging its members to contribute to local food pantries this holiday season.

Holiday meat prices are higher this year than they were in 2010

Miller says holiday meat prices will be higher in 2011, citing several contributing factors, including demand and drought.  "Turkey production so far in 2011 is up 2% from last year. Exports of U.S.-produced turkey meat is up 24% this year, and 2011 will be a record year for pork exports. The number of hogs being produced this year is also higher," says Miller. He adds that the severe drought in Texas has contributed to a slight decline in beef production, but world-wide demand for meat is increasing.

This is the 26th annual survey of classic food items that are typically found on an American Thanksgiving menu. The 13% increase in the national average cost reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner is somewhat higher, but still tracks closely with the organization's 2011 quarterly market-basket food surveys (available online at http://newsroom.fb.org) and the federal government's Consumer Price Index for food (available online at http://data.bls.gov/). The cost does reflect the highest increase in the survey's history. The price of the big item (a 16-pound turkey) rose by $3.91 in 2011.

Everyone in Iowa is being urged to help support local food banks

Iowa farmers and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation remain concerned about the issue of food insecurity and support a number of food pantries. Last month,

IFBF's partnership with the University of Iowa called "America Needs Farmers," led to a $20,000 donation to the Iowa Food Bank Association. In addition, numerous county Farm Bureau volunteers have been involved with food drives and pantry donations to help support their own communities this fall.

While Iowa is ranked ninth in the country for raising turkeys, most Iowa turkeys don't end up on tables for Thanksgiving. Most Iowa turkey meat is served every day at restaurants such as Subway. More than 140 volunteer shoppers from 35 states, representing every region in the nation, participated in the American Farm Bureau's annual Thanksgiving price shopping survey.

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