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March Mania

Farm Bureau: Cost of Thanksgiving dinner increases only slightly

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The cost of the classic Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings increased by less than one percent this year.

According to the annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of this year's feast for 10 people is $49.48, a 28-cent increase from last year's average of $49.20.

"At just under $5 per person, the cost of this year's meal remains a bargain," said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. "Our diverse farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation's land for family Thanksgiving celebrations. During this holiday season, I am encouraging farmers and ranchers to reach out to consumers in-person or through social media, to answer questions about the food that they grow or the livestock and poultry they raise."

The survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The big ticket item - a 16-pound turkey - came in at $22.23 this year. That was roughly $1.39 per pound, an increase of about 4 cents per pound, or a total of 66 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2011. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price increase compared to last year.

The annual informal survey is completed by Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers. The first survey was conducted in 1986, when the average 10-person feast cost $28.74.

Get more information about the survey at