What is in this article?:
- No shortage of holiday food, but producers are making less
- High feed costs
- Producers fear a continued drought could force many of them out of business.
- Drought is squeezing farms and ranches.
- Cost of Thanksgiving dinner up only slightly.
High feed costs
“We had to give up raising our own poultry, and with the cost of poultry feed going up because of the drought, I am glad we did. But we are still paying a premium for livestock feed, and water, which was a real issue this last summer,” Rabke said.
He paid $100 for a bale of hay over the weekend and the only hay he can find this week is being shipped in from Canada.
“We process a lot of deer and wild game and if it wasn’t for the diversity of our operation I don’t know how we would have survived the drought this year. And I am very concerned about the prospect of another spring and summer without rain. It could be devastating to a lot of farm and ranch operations.”
As the holidays approach, consumers will find an adequate supply of holiday foods at the local grocer for about the same price as last year, but McCoy and Rabke warn a continued drought could not only wreck havoc on Texas growers and producers, but it also could cause food prices to skyrocket by the time the holidays roll around next year.
“We just need to hope and pray for rain,” Rabke says.
As far as holiday consumers are concerned, Texas Farm Bureau assistant editor Amanda Hill says the overall spike in preparing Thanksgiving dinner will be about four-percent higher than last year.
“The drought has greatly impacted the supply of fresh pecans, so preparing that traditional pecan pie represents the greatest cost increase to consumers this year,” Hill says. “But the holiday meal still remains a bargain for those willing to shop wisely and spend some time in the kitchen.”
Hill says based upon the Texas Farm Bureau’s 2011 Grocery Price Watch Survey, a traditional Thanksgiving meal for ten should cost Texas consumers about $48.69. That represents a meager $2.17 increase over prices from last year’s fall survey.
Not everything on your Thanksgiving shopping list is getting more expensive. While the shortage of pecans has raised consumer costs, sweet potato prices are about six-percent lower than this time last year, and the price of cranberries is about the same. And while there was an ornamental pumpkin shortage earlier this fall, there is ample supply for baking-quality pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies.