Ethanol demand squeezes poultry producers

Demand for ethanol, a fuel made from corn, has pushed the price of corn above US$3 per bushel, the highest level in more than a decade.

Since so many factors go into making food, consumers probably will not see a direct impact. There will not be less corn for people to eat. Field corn for livestock and fuel is different from sweet corn, the source of corn on the cob and canned or frozen corn.
Costly corn has made it more expensive to feed chickens. Chicken companies are hoping to pass at least some of the high feed costs onto shoppers, despite resistance from supermarkets and fast-food chains, said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council. Lower chicken prices, disruptions in the global market from bird flu and higher fuel and feed costs made for a tough year in the chicken industry. Additionally, ethanol doesn't gobble all the corn. Corn kernels minus the starch are left over and can be fed to livestock, primarily to beef cattle.
People eat more chicken than any other meat in the United States, according to the Agriculture Department. The average person is expected to buy 87.5 pounds of chicken this year, compared with 65.4 pounds of beef and 49.4 pounds of pork. Next year, people are expected to buy slightly more beef and pork and slightly less chicken, according to US Department of Agriculture estimates.
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