Drought Puts Burden on Meat Producers as Feed-Grain Costs Surge

The U.S. Midwest drought that sent corn prices to a record is devastating cattle, hog and poultry producers forced to pay more for feed, signaling higher meat costs for consumers, industry groups said today.

Consumers may buy less meat as prices rise, John Burkel, the vice chairman of the National Turkey Federation and a Minnesota turkey grower, said on a media conference call. Stores are less likely to offer cheap turkeys during Thanksgiving this year, he said.

Livestock producers urged the Obama administration to suspend the nation’s renewable-fuels standard, saying that demand for corn used to make ethanol is reducing available supplies for food production. It’s “time to wean” the ethanol industry off government mandates, J.D. Alexander, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and a Nebraska rancher, said on the media conference call.

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