Inflation falls slightly, but remains key issue after midterms

USDA accuses Russia of raising the price of Thanksgiving dinner

The Department of Agriculture says Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine is one of the reasons your Thanksgiving dinner is more expensive than last year.

A USDA memo this month said turkey prices would be higher due to this year’s outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which killed 8 million people. turkeys in 2022. But the USDA also said “Russia’s war on Ukraine and drought across the United States” are other factors “pushing up Thanksgiving commodity prices” .

The USDA did not respond to questions from Fox News Digital about how Russia’s war on Ukraine is affecting turkey prices. President Biden and his administration have often blamed Russia for the sharp rise in inflation and referred to rising food and energy prices as “Putin’s price hike”.

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President Biden’s Agriculture Department blames Russia for the Thanksgiving commodity price hike.
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

However, the Biden administration’s own data shows that inflation began to rise almost immediately after Biden took office in February 2021.

Just before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February 2022, the Biden administration reported that consumer prices rose 7.5% in the year ending January 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Inflation would rise to 9.1% in the year ending June 2022, but large increases were seen long before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine is a major grain exporter, and Russian efforts to block these exports have led to soaring prices. But again, feed grain prices were rising along with the prices of many other commodities before the Russian invasion.

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Thanksgiving will be more expensive this year, but the Biden administration is playing down the increased costs.

Thanksgiving will be more expensive this year, but the Biden administration is playing down the increased costs.
(Stock)

The USDA memo says the Biden administration has made progress in tackling rising grocery prices by noting that October’s 0.4% increase in grocery prices was the “smallest increase since December last year”.

This rating also downplayed the impact of inflation on the cost of Thanksgiving dinner compared to non-government estimates. He said the average cost of Thanksgiving staples like a fresh turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and green beans will only cost about 1% more this year than last year, and that the replacement with a frozen turkey means a 6% increase.

But the American Farm Bureau Federation says the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is up 20% from last year. The cost of stuffing mix, frozen pie crusts, whipping cream, frozen peas and rolls have all increased more than 20%, the Farm Bureau said.

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The USDA, led by Secretary Tom Vilsack, says Thanksgiving won't be much more expensive this year, despite non-government estimates calling for a 20% price increase.  (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The USDA, led by Secretary Tom Vilsack, says Thanksgiving won’t be much more expensive this year, despite non-government estimates calling for a 20% price increase. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
(Getty)

While these prices may remain high throughout the holidays, turkey prices seen in stores have not risen as much. Beth Breeding, vice president of communications and marketing at the National Turkey Federation, said grocery stores typically lower turkey prices closer to Thanksgiving and use turkeys as loss leaders to attract customers.

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Still, she said prices seen in actual stores in the days leading up to Thanksgiving were higher than they were last year and fell from about 93 cents a pound to $1 a pound, a increase of about 7%.

Breeding and the USDA said that despite this year’s bird flu outbreak, there are still plenty of turkeys to buy for Thanksgiving. The farm said about 40 million turkeys will be eaten over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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