LAWTEY, Fla. — If you're looking for a last-minute turkey before Thanksgiving, you'll be able to find one at Kerr's Auction Services in Lawtey.
Owner Randy Kerr is holding an auction Thursday night starting at 7 p.m. until the last bird is sold. Kerr had four turkeys during the afternoon and he expected more to come in before the auction starts.
Just be prepared to dig deeper into your wallet.
"We had some turkeys a couple weeks back that brought over $200 a piece." Kerr said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the average turkey price is up 33 cents per pound compared to last year.
Kerr has been auctioning off livestock for 50 plus years to people all over Florida and says it's rare to see prices this high.
"Last year they would probably bring $15, $20, $25. This year double, triple that depending on the turkey and who wants to buy them." Kerr said.
He said low supply and high demand have driven up turkey prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the highly pathogenic bird flu has wreaked havoc on supply with turkey stock being down 7 percent from 2021.
Florida Fish and Wildlife have reported cases of the bird flu in Clay, St. Johns Duval and Putnam Counties. In late October, we reported a high number of dead ducks at Beachwalk in St. Johns County. F-W-C confirmed a dead duck and goose were infected with the flu.
For Kerr, he has only experienced the trickle-down effects on the supply side and has had no sick birds. A state inspector comes to every auction to make sure the birds are healthy, so everyone is happy ahead of the holiday.
"If there's something wrong with it gets pulled out of line and won't be sold. The seller expects us to do a good job and then when it goes you've been paying $50 a turkey and a turkey's bringing $150 the seller is more than tickled and apparently the buyer is too because they know they're going to get that turkey." Kerr said.