Corn hit $6 a bushel last week, up 30% from a year ago and likely to rise higher according to government predictions.
What does this mean for those of us who are choosing pastured meats? I asked the farmers in my area I buy my pastured meats from if skyrocketing corn prices would affect farmers raising 100% grassfed animals.
David Simpkins of the Heirloom Beef Company in Adams County OH says yes:
Absolutely YES! We've seen a lot of acres that have normally been used for hay production being planted to corn. I think hay prices will be pretty high again this year. Not only the price of corn carrying other feeds higher, but the costs of fertilizers that go into hay production have gone through the roof.Doug Weber of Weber Farms in Amelia OH agrees:
Yes, especially poultry. I supply my birds with a supplemental grain ration as well as pasture. The feed costs are skyrocketing. Hay is going up, corn is going up and gasoline is going up. All will bring about price increases in livestock and produce.Trudy Mohr of Mohr Animal Acres in Urbana OH adds:
There are many other costs involved that have also increased. I know on my end, our processor has had significantly increased costs which I am trying to keep at minimum to my customers. Also, there are other feed supplements such as hay, mineral and probiotics that we feed to the livestock to maintain health so we do not have to feed antibiotics; all of which have increased in price. Most of these are due to fuel costs not corn costs, but these costs all seem to be tied together these days.
So I guess like industrial meat, prices for pastured meats are also going to be increasing.
I wonder if the silver lining here is that prices increasing to reflect actual costs of raising meat (rather than costs being subsidized by the government) will encourage all of us to treat meat as just another ingredient rather than as the star of the meal? We'll be healthier, and our diets will be more sustainable.