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We’re Thankful

Written by Dennis Sun

This past week was Thanksgiving, a day to be thankful for all we have here in America and to help those who are not so fortunate. Most of us celebrate by having a large turkey dinner and, as they say, all the trimmings. We celebrate being Americans, just as they did at the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and Indians. I’m not sure where the turkey came in, but as cattle and lamb producers, we’ll let it slide for one day.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) puts out an annual report just before Thanksgiving on what an average Thanksgiving dinner will cost that year. AFBF’s shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers – the best part of Thanksgiving, I think.

The report found that this year’s average Thanksgiving dinner cost for 10 people amounted to $49.87, a 24-cent decrease from last year. The big item, a 16-pound turkey, came in at a total of $22.74 this year. That’s around $1.42 a pound, or about two cents cheaper from last year.

According to the report, American consumers saw prices for food prepared at home drop 0.2 percent in October from the previous month, the sixth straight monthly decline. Prices for meat, seafood and eggs fell for the 14th straight month. Over the last 12 months, the food at home index has declined 2.3 percent, the largest 12-month decline since December 2009. As in September, all six major grocery store food group indexes declined over last year. That is good news for consumers, but bad news for farmers, ranchers and others who grow and provide that food.

The report didn’t get into dairy or pumpkin pies, but AFBF noted those prices are also down, especially dairy. The average cost of a gallon of milk this year is $3.17, down from $3.25 in 2015. This decrease is due to a significant expansion in global milk production. Prices fell to the lowest level since 2009. But, the report said that milk should rise because dairy industry economists expect domestic and international demand to go up in the next year, pushing up prices by the fall of 2017.

Reading through all the Farm Bureau member states, the Texas Farm Bureau shows a rise in cost this year over last year, with the cost of dinner at $48.85 compared to $46.48 last year. One of the differences is, the Texas report had pecan pie instead of pumpkin. Good for those Texans. Pecans are up this year because of the weather. But turkeys in Texas were also cheaper, so the other food costs must have been higher, as well. Don’t go to Texas for Thanksgiving – unless you’re into pecans, of course.

But, as we all know, it is not where one celebrates Thanksgiving but who we celebrate with. We at the Roundup hope all of you had a great and loving Thanksgiving and that you enjoyed friends and family.

We’re also hopeful that you make plans to attend the Wyoming Stock Growers Convention Dec. 5-7 in Casper, where we will have some more fun and good discussions. We’ll see you all there.