A turkey shortage may be coming in time for Thanksgiving

John Garcia Image
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
A turkey shortage may be looming
Analysts say demand for turkeys is up, supply is down and myriad complications may make it harder to get them onto your Thanksgiving table.

DUNDEE, Ill. (WLS) -- Wednesday the turkeys at All Grass Farms in Dundee, Ill., basked in the sun during their first fall season... and their last. The birds are about three months old and in great demand right about now.

"This year we've got 'e all sold out," said Mike Milkowski, All Grass Farms. "We have about 150 left to purchase, first come first served."

All Grass also raises chickens, hogs and dairy cows, but this time of year it's all about the turkeys. As a small family-run business they haven't run into the issues some of the large companies are dealing with, but those larger companies are seeing problems that are leading to a shortage of turkeys around the country.

"We're seeing sales substantially greater than they were at this same time last year," said Jon McConaughy, Double Brook Farm.

According to food analyst editor Phil Lempert, demand for turkeys is up while supply is down, meaning this Thanksgiving you may be paying more, for a variety of reasons that span from climate change to the pandemic and beyond.

"We have a major shortage of truck drivers," Lempert offered as an example. "So being able to get the birds to the supermarkets is going to be a problem."

All Grass has customers pick up their turkeys right at the store on the farm. They are raising about 500 turkeys there, and most have already been pre-sold to regular customers, many of whom appreciate the all-natural, organic approach they take.

"It changes everything with the taste and how good it is for you," Milkowski said. "Being out in the sun changes it too."