Iowa farmers support 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," explained Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. "Because of that demand, production 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."
Miller said 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 percent from last year. Exports of U.S.-produced turkey meat is up 24 percent this year, and 2011 will be a record year for pork exports. The number of hogs being produced this year is also higher," said Miller. He added that the severe drought in Texas has contributed to a slight decline in beef production, but world-wide demand for meat is increasing.
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 annual Thanksgiving price shopping survey.