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Tight Turkey Supply This Holiday Season

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – As Thanksgiving Day approaches, there might be fewer fresh and frozen turkeys around this season.

Jim's Meats on Highland Avenue in Kenmore received a letter from Plainville -- a New York State farm that raises turkeys. Butcher Scott Powell tells WBFO News the farm indicated that was in short supply of turkeys this season.

"Not that anyone is going to go without," Powell said. "But it is going to be a little tighter and you might not get the size you want."

Powell says there are a number of reasons for fewer turkeys. He says there has been lower profits over the last three to four years, and fewer turkeys were grown this year. But Powell says New York State's warm summer weather and the hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast cut the number.

"(New York farmers) lost a lot of turkeys. That has caused high prices and shortages we are seeing this year," Powell said. "You also had the problem down south, where poultry was purchased in February and March and frozen for use for Thanksgiving this year. But a lot of it was in storage warehouses down in New Orleans, and when the hurricane it and they lost power, there was spoilage."

At Powell's shop, they've already completed fresh turkey orders for customers. He says anyone who plans to show up this weekend to order a fresh bird for next Thursday's holiday could be out of luck.

"The availability of the fresh turkeys just won't be there, because supplier said what ever you have pre-ordered, that is all you will get you won't get anymore."

Powell says once the Christmas season approaches, there are already indications from another main supplier of turkeys to the Buffalo region that inventory will remain its lowest in about four or five years.