“Some of the Thanksgiving dinner items have rebounded from quite low price levels in 2009,” Anderson said. “For example, last year’s milk price was at its lowest level since 2001. Dairy product prices have climbed some in 2010, largely reflecting better consumer demand as the economy has gradually improved this year.”

A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) also increased in price, to $3.22.

Joining the turkey as items that decreased in price this year were: one pound of green peas, $1.44, down 14 cents; and a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.64, down 1 cent.

Another of the traditional Thanksgiving items, fresh cranberries, was unchanged from last year, with a 12-ounce package selling for $2.41.

Anderson said despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation.

The 1.3 percent increase in the national average cost reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the organization’s 2010 quarterly marketbasket food surveys and the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (available online at http://data.bls.gov/) .

Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation.

More than 112 volunteer shoppers from 34 states participated in this year’s survey. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.