EAST LANSING, Mich. — Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be grateful for living in a land with an abundance of a safe and nutritious food supply. Farmers in the U.S., Michigan and Monroe County are the most productive in the world and at any time previous to now.
The average cost for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, for ten people, is estimated to cost $48.91, less than $5.00 per person and a mere one cent increase from a year ago. (I spent $40 just for the centerpiece of flowers.) On average, farmers receive 14.6 cents of every food dollar consumers spend throughout the year. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner fell to $19.13, the lowest since 2010, with the farm share just 12.1 cents per dollar spent on food for this special meal. The most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for food at home showed just over a 2 percent decline over the past year.
This traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk. Michigan is the second most diverse state in the nation for producing agricultural commodities, exceeded only by California. Everything for the Thanksgiving dinner, with the exception of coffee, could have been grown or produced in Michigan.
Prices this year are lower for a 16 pound turkey, a 30 ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, a gallon of milk, and a one pound carrot and celery veggie tray. Prices are higher for a dozen brown and serve rolls, two nine-inch pie shells, one pound of green peas, 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, a half pint of whipping cream, a 14 ounce package of cubed stuffing and a three pound bag of fresh sweet potatoes.
Wheat farmers receive just 3 cents on 12 dinner rolls that retail for $2.69. Turkey farmers receive just over half (96 cents) of the retail value for a 10-pound turkey costing $20.80. Pumpkin farmers receive 25 cents, a mere 6.4 percent of the $3.89 spent for canned pumpkin pie mix. Dairy farmers this year receive $1.66 from a gallon of milk costing $4.59.
— Ned Birkey, Spartan Ag/ MSU Extension Educator Emeritus
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