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RFS Gobbling Up Turkey, Cattle Feed

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 29, 2013

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) doesn’t just believe recent polling that finds two-thirds of Americans believe that, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), using more corn for ethanol production could force up food prices, they have data to prove it:

“USDA’s average wholesale broiler meat prices leapt from 68 cents in 2005 to a record high 91 cents in December, 2012—a 35 percent increase. Turkey meat soared from 79 cents in 2005 to a record high of 120 cents a few months ago.  And it’s not just poultry that costs more.  A variety of food products that depend heavily on corn feed are also more expensive.  It’s safe to say RFS is hitting consumers, poultry producers, and farmers squarely in the pocketbook.” –  Dr. Thomas Elam, president of FarmEcon, LLC, speaking on behalf of the NTF and the National Chicken Council

More from the NTF:

Feed corn prices increase the cost of raising turkeys and other meat protein animals we raise for food. Consumers ultimately pay more for these added costs of raising meat and poultry. – NTF

“Consumers have seen food prices increase faster than general inflation since the current RFS was enacted in 2007.  Food affordability, which had been improving for decades, now is deteriorating.” – NTF President Joel Brandenberger

“We saw how price spikes caused by this government mandate impacts turkey growers when corn prices reached almost $8 per bushel: U.S. turkey production declined by 9 percent, resulting in loss of rural jobs.” – NTF President Joel Brandenberger

“Corn is the major ingredient in turkey feed and almost all livestock and poultry. Corn is the primary reason why one turkey company went bankrupt in 2012 and why the industry already has lost 750 jobs in the last 12 months.” – NTF President Joel Brandenberger

“The RFS has destabilized corn and ethanol prices by offering an almost risk-free demand volume guarantee to the corn-based ethanol industry. Domestic and export corn users other than ethanol producers have been forced to bear a disproportionate share of market and price risk. Ethanol prices should reflect the fuel’s energy value relative to gasoline, not a corn price that is both inflated and destabilized by the inflexible RFS. As corn is syphoned off to ethanol, animal agriculture is losing jobs in rural America.” – NTF President Joel Brandenberger

“The National Turkey Federation encourages pointed discussion of the RFS.  Animal agriculture has long been suffering at the hand of this broken policy, especially feed costs in the turkey business.  The RFS has caused an increase of $1.9 billion in feed cost alone for turkey farmers, as corn continues to be syphoned off to ethanol.” – NTF President Joel Brandenberger

“RFS has been such a poorly managed mess, it’s time to drain the swamp. The RFS needs a fresh start in order to put in place a smarter policy on the mix of fuel and feed.” –  NTF President Joel Brandenberger

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.