Turkey Farmers Face Uncertainty as Holiday Gatherings Downsize


When Covid lockdowns began this spring, turkey farmers had to make a prediction on what Thanksgiving 2020 was going to look like.

The Washington Post reports that the pandemic is predicted to interrupt 50 years of steadily increasing turkey consumption. Social distancing and travel challenges will mean smaller holiday gatherings, smaller home-cooked turkeys on the table, fewer holiday restaurant reservations, and, in some households, no turkey at all.

Farmers at the country’s 2,500 turkey farms are trying to predict demand as to not be stuck with too many big turkeys and not enough small ones while processing plants are contending with a shorter harvest window and preventing covid outbreaks that ravaged meat processing plants earlier this year.

Turkey consumption has doubled since 1970. According to the USDA, 2019, turkey consumption reached 5.3 billion pounds or 16 pounds per person.