Global Warming’s War On Thanksgiving
Climate disasters and unregulated commodity speculation have combined to send food prices through the roof this year. Families across the United States will be struggling to put together a celebratory feast, and food pantries will be barer even as more people are in need. The American Farm Bureau Federation has calculated that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for ten will cost about 13 percent more this year, up to $49.20 from last year’s $43.47.
Detailed breakdown at link. Excerpts here:
Retail turkey prices are up 23 percent, an average $1.35 a pound instead of $1.10 last year. Wholesale prices on the East Coast for turkeys are up 26 percent this year to a record $1.18. The super-hot summer killed turkeys and slowed weight gain. The two main commodities that go into a turkey are feed corn and soybeans, and prices for both have gone up sharply. The U.S. is ‘reaping its smallest corn harvest in three years’ after a drought and the hottest summer since 1955 in the Midwest damaged what was a record crop as recently as July, driving annual prices to record highs. Average temperatures in the Midwest were as much as 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in July, and a stretch from Illinois to Indiana had its driest ever conditions for that month.
The average retail price for a pound of pecans rose from $7 in 2008 to $9 last year, and it’s expected to be about $11 this year. Drought in the Southeast has dramatically reduced the pecan crop. Production in Texas, which has had a record drought, dropped the most, from 70 million pounds last year to an estimated 40 million pounds this year. In Louisiana, production plunged from 20 million pounds last year to an estimated 9 million pounds this year. The entire U.S. crop is expected to be less than 252 million pounds this year, roughly 14 percent smaller than last year. ‘I’ve been farming for 60 or more years, and this is the driest I’ve ever seen,’ said Ben Littlepage, a grower in the central Louisiana town of Colfax.
The cost of canned pumpkin is up more than 13 percent this year from last. Hurricane Irene wiped out pumpkin crops in flooded fields throughout the Northeast. Flooded fields meant not only waterlogged pumpkins that rotted on the vine but also fungus, mold and mildew.
WHIPPED CREAM, BUTTER, MILK
Dairy prices are extremely volatile, but have risen considerably, primarily because of the extreme hay shortage in the nation. Hay prices have nearly doubled because of drought in Texas, Florida, and the rest of the Southeast.
The sustainability director of Starbucks, Jim Hanna, said that the company’s coffee bean suppliers, ‘who are mainly in Central America, were already experiencing changing rainfall patterns and more severe pest infestations’ because of global warming pollution.
Commodity volatility is being grossly amplified by that rampant and unregulated speculation in commodity markets and their derivatives, as Wall Street financiers have sought profit-making schemes after the housing bubble collapsed.
The demand pressure on corn to produce ethanol is not a major factor in the extreme price spike, since that demand is known ahead of time, allowing farmers to plant enough.
Sadly, the American Farm Bureau Federation — which claims to represents the interests of American farmers — is run by global warming deniers.
Sad indeed. That’s like a sexual assault treatment center being run by people who think women were asking for it.