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Turkey farmers say COVID-19 pandemic is hurting demand for Thanksgiving

PITTSBURGH — The COVID-19 pandemic could mean trouble for local turkey farms this Thanksgiving.

With people gathering in smaller numbers, smaller turkeys are now in high demand.

A turkey farmer in Butler County told Channel 11 his birds are too big, and it’s costing him. David Jones has been raising turkeys at his farm in Cabot for three decades, and they’re always between 16-22 pounds.

“If you get stuck with 500 turkeys after Thanksgiving and they don’t buy them at Christmas, you’re bank (is) going to be tapping you on the shoulder saying, ‘what’s going on?’” Jones said.

He said some people are calling to ask for 8-10 pound turkeys because people are changing their holiday plans. The price difference between the turkeys can be $30-40, and Jones told Channel 11 some people less fortunate cannot afford it so he donated some.

Fortunately, in the last few days, calls ramped up to buy big turkeys. Jones hopes this trend continues for the next two months because he doesn’t want to be stuck with hundreds of turkeys at the end of 2020.