Coronavirus: New Carlisle turkey farm sees steady business despite pandemic

Steve Landes, president of Bowman-Landes Turkeys Inc., with some of the turkeys Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Steve Landes, president of Bowman-Landes Turkeys Inc., with some of the turkeys Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A turkey farm that operates near New Carlisle says that business has been steady this holiday season despite changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowman and Landes Turkeys raises over 65,000 free-range turkeys each year and has a retail store located just west of New Carlisle. The business has been operating for decades and its busiest month has traditionally been November, due to the demand brought on by Thanksgiving.

Steve Landes, the president of the family-owned turkey farm, said that demand has stayed relatively consistent this year. He said that is despite the expectation that more people this holiday season will have smaller gatherings or will put a hold altogether on celebrating due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Restrictions on travel and large gatherings are expected to have an impact on the number and size of turkeys requested for the holiday. An expected shift in demand has caused uncertainty for turkey operations across the nation as they often start their preparations long before the holiday season.

Landes said there has been a slightly greater demand for smaller birds this year than in the past. He said that families usually buy medium to larger size turkeys for Thanksgiving. However, the demand for medium sized turkeys has increased over the years, he added.

“Having a good supply of smaller birds has helped us this year. They are definitely in demand. We expect to be sold out of our smaller sizes. It is not typically what happens,” he said.

The United States is the largest turkey producer in the world and turkey consumption has doubled since 1970 with domestic consumption of turkey meat reaching 5.3 billion pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Turkey production was also valued at $4.3 billion in 2019 as reported in October by the Washington Post.

Bowman is a smaller operation and Landes said that they also profit from converting larger turkeys into deli and ground meat as well as selling turkey products to festivals and fairs. He added that their biggest customers are smaller grocery store chains as well as meat shops and distributers.

However, the cancelation of a number events this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as the Ohio Renaissance Festival, did have a negative impact on Bowman.

But that loss was offset by a higher demand for meats sold by Bowman as other operations experienced a shortage due to the pandemic, Landes added.

By the Numbers:

5.3 billion - pounds of turkey meat consumed by Americans in 2019

$4.3 billion - value of turkey production in the United States in 2019

65,000 - number of free-range turkeys raised by Bowman and Landes in New Carlisle on an annual basis

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