Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 22, 2006

The week of Thanksgiving does strange things to us here at Political Calculations, as the thought of enjoying a large feast with family sways us from our usual thoughts of money and business matters. Well, almost, because as we updated our annual look at the growth of turkeys on U.S. dining tables in recent years, we started wondering about how much money there is to be made in turkey farming.

Quite a bit, as it turns out! Our go-to source for all things turkey-related confirms that billions of dollars are made each year in producing turkeys. The following chart shows how many of those billions of U.S. dollars made it to the turkey farmers of America from 1990 through 2005:

As we can see, in 2005, the number of dollars accumulated in the coffers of America's turkey producers surpassed all previous years for which we have data, reaching $3.23 billion! The previous record was set in 1996 at $3.13 billion – not bad considering that over 47 million more turkeys were produced in that year than in 2005!

But wait, there's more - we haven't taken inflation into account!

Using Oregon State Professor Robert Sahr's conversion factors (available in this 36KB PDF document) for translating the value of dollars of previous years to 2005 U.S. dollars, we find that today's record isn't all it's cracked up to be:

In this chart, it's clear that the 1990s were very good to U.S. turkey farmers, as compared to the years since! We find that 2005's apparent record-setting $3.23 billion of income pales in comparison to 1996's inflation-adjusted $3.90 billion. What's really remarkable, as we saw yesterday, is that the total amount of turkeys produced in 2005, as measured by their Ready-To-Cook (RTC)-Inspected weights, which is what U.S. consumers actually buy, was 58 million pounds greater than the amount produced in 1996.

What this tells us is that turkeys have become much less lucrative per pound to produce than they were in the 1990s. Our next chart shows the trend in farm income per RTC-Inspected pound of turkey using inflation-adjusted 2005 U.S. dollars:

This decline in real income has come even as the productivity of the U.S. turkey farmer has increased consistently throughout the same period.

We suppose we won't be closing up shop to begin farming turkeys anytime soon!

Labels: ,

About Political Calculations

blog advertising
is good for you

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts


This year, we'll be experimenting with a number of apps to bring more of a current events focus to Political Calculations - we're test driving the app(s) below!

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Visitors since December 6, 2004:

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button


The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links
Charities We Support
Recommended Reading
Recommended Viewing
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.