High Gas Prices Result In Shortage Of Fresh Turkeys In Maryland

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ)– High gas prices this past year are being passed on by farmers so it will cost more to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table.

And Mike Schuh reports, the price of gas also has resulted in a shortage of fresh turkeys in Maryland.

In the country near Frederick, past the lamb herd, we arrive at a farm which has something in short supply. Turkeys, fresh turkeys.

Myron Horst is like most fresh turkey farmers. He cut back on the number of chicks he ordered this year. He, his wife and six kids raise, process and sell chickens year round. But after Thanksgiving, few people want a fresh turkey.

But, he has to order turkey chicks in the spring.

“Gas prices were high at that time and people didn’t order as many. We didn’t order as many as other years,”  said Horst, of the Jehovah-Jireh Farm.

And though now the phone has been ringing off the hook. People are looking for a fresh turkey, fed organic feed.

He couldn’t count on that, so he has only 150 turkeys this year versus 225 last year.

“It’s better to sell out and make the money rather than raise too many and you don’t make anything because all the profit is in the turkeys that are sitting in your freezer,” Horst said.

Far from unusual, many other fresh turkey farmers did the same thing.

“We have to get paid or it’s not sustainable,” Horst said.

If you don’t want to get caught flat-footed next year, many turkey farmers open up their order books in the spring.

The price of turkeys at that farm went up by 20 cents a pound this year to $3.99 a pound.

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