Friday, November 16, 2007

Another victim of ethanol 

Your Thanksgiving dinner:
The rising cost of oil and other utilities, combined with an explosion in the cost of corn feed, has increased the cost of raising a turkey by as much 35 percent and costing the industry more than a half-billion dollars.

Those increases haven't gone unnoticed in MetroWest.

"Oh, yeah, big time," Gerard Farms owner Mike Gerard said yesterday when asked if he has seen an increase in feed costs. "I'm paying 20 percent more for turkey this year than I paid last year."

Naturally, that increase has led to customers seeing higher prices.

Last year, Gerard said, the price of a roasted turkey with stuffing and gravy at the Framingham farm was $3.19 per pound. This year, it's jumped to $3.39. The price for fresh, uncooked turkey has increased even more, from $2.29 last year to $2.59 today.

For a 15-pound bird, which should serve about 10 people, that adds up to an increase of only between $3 to $4.50 a turkey.

...With many growers switching to the more profitable corn for ethanol, turkey farmers are trying to cope with a one-two punch of increasing corn prices and decreased soybean production.

According to some estimates, the higher prices translate to about an 8 cent increase per pound, per turkey, or about a 35 percent increase in the cost of raising just one bird.

The decline in soy production has also hurt us vegetarians. Tofurkey is made of course with soybeans, so that price is also rising. The roast itself was $10-$12 for a26 ounce piece with stuffing included five years ago. You seldom see them under $20 nowadays.

This just another part of what John LaPlante calls The Dark Side of Ethanol.

(h/t: Mark Perry, who suggests you hedge your food bill with ADM purchases.)

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