Higher Turkey Prices, Thanks To Ethanol
From this news article "Thanksgiving May Cost You":
If you're planning a major feast this Thanksgiving, it might be a good idea to budget a few extra dollars to make sure you can get the guest of honor to the table. 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% and costing the industry more than a half-billion dollars.
Nationally, increases in feed costs are expected to cost farmers more than $576 million, said Sherrie Rosenblatt, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Turkey Federation.
As an increasing number of farms devote their corn crops to the production of ethanol rather than animal feed, feed costs have exploded, from less than $1 per bushel last year to more than $4 today.
"Turkey feed is about one-third of the cost of raising a turkey," she said. "We feed turkeys a combination of corn and soybean."
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.
Solution: To protect against rising food prices, you could have bought some shares of ADM (a major ethanol producer) a few years ago. As the chart below shows, ADM stock (blue line) has risen almost 60% over the the last two years, about 3X higher than the 20% increase in the S&P500 (red line).