You guessed it, your Thanksgiving turkey will be smaller and costlier this year

This year’s turkey production will be the largest annual reduction since 2009.

As High Pathogenic Avian Influenza works its way across the U.S., analysts say this year’s Thanksgiving birds are going to be smaller and cost more, too.

CoBank says the virus is hitting larger, heavier birds more than hens. Compared to the last three years, slaughter is down nearly 10 percent from last year, and if the trend holds, they say it will be the largest annual reduction since 2009. However, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says there is no need to worry about a shortage.

“In terms of people being able to get a Thanksgiving turkey, they’re going to be able to get a Thanksgiving turkey. Now, whether they can get a 20-pound turkey may be a challenge based on location because some of the turkeys that are being raised right now for Thanksgiving may not have the full amount of time to get the 20 pounds,” said Sec. Vilsack.

So far, HPAI has claimed nearly 8 million turkeys.

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