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December 10, 2012

Holiday Traditions Offer Boost to Hurting Livestock Farmers

For more information on Newsline, contact: Cyndie Sirekis, Director, News Services, American Farm Bureau Federation, cyndies@fb.org.

 
Think about your favorite holiday traditions. There’s a good chance that at least one of them involves food. American Farm Bureau economist John Anderson says that’s a nice boost for livestock farmers who have been paying big bucks for animal feed. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has this report.
Miller:Every family has their holiday traditions. A lot of them involve food. For livestock farmers who have recently felt the squeeze from high feed costs, the holidays may be a nice boost. 
Anderson:Relief from feed prices, not much, but we do tend to see for some of our meat items, some pretty strong demand at this time of year, driven by the holidays. That’s a component of demand that’s pretty resilient. When you think of challenges like a weak economy and high unemployment and all these things we’ve dealt with for the last few years, people are going to go out and buy that Christmas ham or that Christmas turkey of that special New Year’s dinner almost regardless of those kinds of circumstances.
Miller:American Farm Bureau economist John Anderson says the impacts of the summer drought linger for farmers and ranchers who have to buy feed for their animals. 
Anderson:Grain prices have been high since this summer when we really got into the main effects of the drought and started to realize what kind of impact it was going to have on the availability of grain. We have seen a little bit of relief from grain prices. They’ve come down some since their highs late in the summer, but they’re still very high historically and that is still a challenge for a lot of livestock producers of all kinds. 
Miller:Anderson says the grocery stores want to encourage customers to come into the store, so now is the time to keep an eye on the sales flyers.
Anderson:This is an important time of year for the retail food industry: a lot of at-home food consumption, uh a lot of big meals, a lot of parties, a lot of activities that that really center around uh the things you buy at the grocery store and uh food retailers are very conscious of that. So it’s a great time of year to look around and find a bargain on things and those opportunities are out there probably at this time of year more than any other.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:We have two extra actualities with AFBF economist John Anderson. In the first extra actuality says this is a very important time of year for grocery stores. The cut runs 23 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Anderson:We do see a lot of food-related traditions around the holidays that affect at home food consumption, certainly. This is a big time of year for staying at home and making the pumpkin pie, making the Christmas candies, doing those kinds of things and it’s a little hard to sort out the direct effect on some of those individual items, but certainly overall there’s a lot of activity in food retail that’s geared toward the holidays
Miller:In the second extra actuality Anderson says meat plays a big role in most holiday meals. The cut runs 23 seconds, in 3-2-1.
Anderson:We do have some really strong seasonal tendencies in the market that are based around the holiday. Certainly around Thanksgiving we always associate that with turkey. Probably the biggest effect around Christmas is on ham. The Christmas ham is sort of a staple of a lot of holiday tables. Turkey is also a big item for Christmas. Not so much for beef. It’s not necessarily a bad time for beef demand, but it’s just not as traditional an item as the ham and the turkey at Christmas. 
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening.

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