Thanksgiving dinner could leave your wallet a little leaner

Don't loosen that belt in preparation for Thanksgiving just yet.

A report from the American Farm Bureau Federation says ingredients for the classic holiday meal — including turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie mix, sweet potatoes and the bread used for stuffing — will cost U.S. consumers about 1.3% more this year than last.

Depending on where you live, however, that price increase might be higher. A report released this week by Louisiana State University's AgCenter found that the dinner costs for Southern cooks might be up as much as 9%.

Both groups surveyed a typical dozen dishes that make the dining room table groan — enough to feed 10 people, with plenty of leftovers.

The Farm Bureau's informal price survey, released Friday, reported that such a meal would cost $43.47. That's 56 cents more than last year's average of $42.91, according to the report.

The LSU AgCenter report, based on the farm group's survey, found that the market basket in Baton Rouge would average $40.64, up $3.12 from last year's average of $37.52.

So why is there such a higher percentage increase in the South? LSU AgCenter's family economist, Jeanette Tucker, said in the report that the turkey was the big cause, with a 16-pound bird costing roughly $16.28, or about $1.02 a pound in Louisiana — 18 cents per pound more than last year.

Tucker said in a statement that while turkey still remained a relative bargain compared with other meats, the cost increase in Louisiana could be attributed to higher grain costs and lower poultry production.

The Farm Bureau's survey also offered up this tasty morsel to be thankful for: The meal's overall price is $1.14 less than what consumers paid in 2008.

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