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18 Nov 2012 - Give Thanks this Thanksgiving

The worst drought in half a century in this country has prompted a great deal of discussion here and around the world on the impact on the price of food. The concern is that production cutbacks, because of the drought, will push food prices sharply higher.

As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season of 2012, I am happy to report that we are not seeing any great evidence yet of a sharp increase in the overall cost of food. On what do I base that? Well, every year for the past 27 years, the American Farm Bureau Federation has sent members into supermarkets in cities across the nation to buy all of the ingredients it would take to feed 10 people a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The survey this year indicated that you can buy all the ingredients, including the turkey, for those 10 people for $49.48. That is a 28-cent increase over the cost of a year ago. You heard me right, just a 28-cent increase over last year.

The biggest reason for that increase is the price of the turkey. The price of a turkey went up about four cents per pound, on a national average, to $1.39 per pound according to those Farm Bureau shoppers. Of course, the bird is the biggest contributor to the total. On the other hand, many of the ingredients that go into the Thanksgiving dinner came down in price. Milk, whipping cream, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberries, green peas and pumpkin pie mix all cost consumers less than a year ago.

Once again, what a tremendous story this is, thanks to America’s farmers and ranchers. We should say a special ‘thank you’ on Thanksgiving Day for their hard work, as well as the researchers who developed the technology that helped them overcome the impact of the drought and produce bigger yields than expected.

So, when you sit down to that holiday dinner and you say “Thanks,” yes, you can say “Bless the hands that prepared the food,” but also please say “Bless the hands that produced this food.”

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.