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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7ca0000Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Harvest covers agriculture-related topics through a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Like Harvest Public Media on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @HarvestPM.

Cheap Thanksgiving Turkey Despite Bird Flu

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Jeffrey Remick, flickr Creative Commons
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Despite the bird flu epidemic that devastated Midwest turkey farmers this spring, the price of a turkey this Thanksgiving could be a little cheaper than last year.

The USDA’s most recent numbers show that this year’s turkeys are ringing up one cent less per pound. That’s a shock given the bird flu outbreak that tore through flocks in Minnesota and Iowa this spring.

John Anderson, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, says avian influenza hit a select group of farmers.

"The [avian influenza] event was pretty well confined to some of the Midwestern states. We’ve got a lot of other parts of the country that weren’t affected," he says. "We can make up production in those places. We can put more pounds on every bird."

Bird flu killed an estimated 8 million turkeys. That’s a lot of birds--but only about 3.5 percent of the country’s turkey production capacity.