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Supply chain crisis may affect Thanksgiving dinner; local farms avoid turkey issues

Supply chain crisis may affect Thanksgiving dinner, local farms avoid turkey issues
Posted at 5:38 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 19:14:56-05

SPENCER, Ohio — If you typically shop for your Thanksgiving feast the day before, you might want to reconsider your game plan this year.

Supply chain issues could cause grocery stores to start running low on some holiday staples, like turkey, and prices may even increase.

But some Northeast Ohio farmers are escaping the pinch.

Jason Bindel, a farmer and owner of Bindel Farms in Spencer, Medina County, bought his crop of turkeys last December and they’ve been feasting on grain and grass at his farm since they were babies this summer.

“It's been going pretty good,” said Bindel.

Bindel sold out of the about 80 turkeys he raised by Halloween this year. He said that’s much sooner than he did two years ago and the years prior. He typically sells his last turkey in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

But while the families who bought his gobblers are guaranteed to have turkey on the table at Thanksgiving, it may be tougher for other folks.

“There are a number of issues that are facing our food supply chain at the moment,” said Michael Goldberg, the executive director of the Veale Institute of Entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University.

Goldberg said those issues range from not enough workers to harvest crops on farms, to shipment backlogs from overseas, and higher costs of transportation domestically–and there’s a ripple effect.

According to the Wall Street Journal, turkeys were more than 60% out of stock by the end of october; 30% lower than the same time last year.

“For those who wait until the last minute, including my own family, I mean, the thought that you needed to buy things well in advance isn't something I think that many people are considering,” said Goldberg.

Bindel said he was able to avoid stock shortages because he buys his turkeys locally and early. He also runs a community-supported agriculture program with up to 40 members in it who purchase turkeys every year, plus loyal customers who come back year after year. He also tends to the turkeys and processes them himself, so he doesn’t have to worry about a labor shortage affecting his production.

News 5 also spoke with other local farmers who said they are not experiencing turkey shortages.

Wholesome Valley Farm in Wilmot raises its own turkeys each year. Partner Adam Lambert said they have an ample amount of turkeys this year and purchase poults depending on sales from the previous year. However, demand is up with some customers even trying to place orders back in July.

The owner of H&H Farms in Norton told News 5 they’re in good shape this year with turkeys and have not been affected by supply chain issues.

Bindel, however, said he has been somewhat affected.

“In particular, grain prices, you know, the commodity market, grain’s 30% higher now than it was a year ago,” said Bindel. “This year I'm not increasing prices. I'm still selling them for $3.75 a pound. Next year, I will increase the price.”

Goldberg said prices elsewhere, like at your local grocery store, are already increasing this year because of the supply chain issues.

“It might be more economical to buy a local turkey from your farmer's market than to battle it out at your local grocery store for Butterball turkey that's shipped from somewhere else,” said Goldberg.

He believes those issues aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so people might have to get creative with their holiday meals.

“Perhaps this is a time to substitute them in. And I think families are going to have to do that. If you can't get your turkey, maybe this is the year you go for chicken or go for vegan or something else,” said Goldberg.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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