The turkey on your table could cost less, thanks to MU professor's research

Nov 23, 2011

A professor at the University of Missouri has found a way to lower the cost of turkeys for us all this Thanksgiving, KBIA’s SARAH REDOHL reports.

Every morning Jeff Firman goes out to the University of Missouri’s turkey farm on St. Charles Road to take care of his hundreds of turkeys. Firman is a professor of animal science at MU. He recently announced a discovery 20 years in the making that’s likely to make turkeys cheaper for consumers and the farmers that produce them. "When you look at feed costs feed is the biggest cost of raising birds, so anything we can do to reduce the feed costs is good. So what we’ve done is try to get the amino acids requirements as possible, and that’s one of the major cost components of feed."

Though the cost of feed prices for turkeys has been rising for decades, Firman says it has been difficult for producers to pass that expense onto consumers. He says his new turkey feed will immediately lower the cost for farmers, and eventually lower prices for consumers. Since turkey demand spikes this time of year, Firman says what he is most thankful for this year is that Americans continue to put turkeys on their thanksgiving tables. "I’m glad for my sake from a turkey perspective that people like turkey on thanksgiving. It keeps the business going and keeps the business productive so to speak."

Firman says the 400 birds he’s raising now won’t be sitting pretty on any thanksgiving tables this year. They aren’t quite big enough. Firman hopes to further improve his formula, and send a big and healthy group of turkeys to market in time for next year's Thanksgiving dinners.