With shoppers crowding grocery stores for Thanksgiving supplies this week, economists are warning that in spite of only modest increases in retail prices over the last twelve months, food prices are building on last year’s estimated 6.3 percent rise in food costs. But the real crunch may not be felt until next year’s holiday season as livestock and dairy producers continue to reduce their herds and commodity grain prices continue at record levels as a result of the 2012 drought.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the good news is that the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for ten family members and friends will cost about $49.48, only a 28-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.20. The AFBF staged their 27th annual informal price survey last week and the results indicate most food items dropped slightly over the last 12 months.

“At just under $5 per person, the cost of this year’s meal remains a bargain,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. “Our diverse farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation’s land for family Thanksgiving celebrations. During this holiday season, I am encouraging farmers and ranchers to reach out to consumers in person or through social media to answer questions about the food that they grow or the livestock and poultry they raise.”

AFBF’s menu included the usual and traditional favorites—turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, cranberries, a relish tray, pumpkin pie and beverages. Of all items surveyed, the Thanksgiving turkey represented the largest price increase, an estimated $1.39 a pound, just about four cents a pound more than last year. But AFBF economists say America’s savvy shoppers may actually pay less for frozen turkey because of retail store special sales. Last minute shoppers may get the best prices if they don’t mind waiting and fighting the crowds.