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Holiday dinners in B.C. could cost more due to higher turkey prices

Click to play video: 'No relief likely on turkey prices until new year' No relief likely on turkey prices until new year
B.C. turkey producers are blaming a spike in prices on the extreme summer the province had, and not flooding the South Coast experienced in November – Dec 3, 2021

Those looking for a holiday turkey this year may notice it costs more than usual.

That’s because this past summer’s heat dome led to crop failure in the Prairies, causing higher prices for wheat – the main ingredient in turkey feed, according to the B.C. Turkey Marketing Board.

“We’re facing incredibly high prices for our wheat products, so that’s the main reason you’re seeing some spikes in pricing,” the B.C. Turkey Marketing Board’s Michel Benoit said.

Read more: ‘It’s heart-wrenching’ — Drought conditions devastate food producers from B.C. to Ontario

As a result, prices for turkey are up as much as 25 per cent year over year.

In addition, supply chain issues, including the destruction of major highways in B.C. due to recent widespread flooding, means turkeys can’t get where they’re needed.

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According to B.C.’s agriculture minister, 98 per cent of turkeys in the Fraser Valley survived the floods, though they are also costing more in-store due to complications of transport.

Read more: ‘My life’s work’ — Farmers detail loss of beloved land, crops in Sumas Prairie, B.C.

“I can assure you that only two per cent of the annual provincial production has been lost and I think this bodes well as we head towards some holiday meals together,” said Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham.

“We are going to see some prices reflected around the complications of transport. Unfortunately, it’s taking longer to get things to where they are needed and that’s costing the trucking industry more. Hopefully, we’ll see in the new year as things get more streamlined, that those costs will adjust.”

But despite the price you pay for a turkey this year, Benoit ensures it’s a better value than other types of meat.

“If it’s not 99 cents, you might want to think, a turkey’s a great value no matter what price it is,” he said.

The province expects turkey prices to come back down to normal levels in the new year.

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