You might have won the fight against being forced to move by the First Lady, America, but that doesn’t mean that the government has given up the fight on trying to make you eat something green.
They may not be getting into your face with “plate percentage” infographics and celebrity pleas to take up double dutch, but late night TV antics aren’t the only front in this war. While you were busy trying to figure out ways to do your patriotic duty and avoid exercise, the Renewable Fuel Standards were coming for your hot wings.
Super Bowl wing consumption is down about one percent, or 12.3 million wings, compared to last year’s numbers, but not because demand for them is declining. Quite the opposite, explains Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council.
“Chicken companies produced about one percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices,” Roenigk said. “Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer’s drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced.”
OMG, so how much do you want to work for the Chicken Council?
So, apparently, this was an incredibly hot summer, which means that a great deal of the nation’s corn crop didn’t survive. At the same time, because the government cannot adjust their plans for things that are predictable months ahead of time, the Renewable Fuel Standards diverted a huge chunk of the nation’s corn crop to make biofuels that most cars don’t use (in fact, we knew back in 2010 subsidizing ethanol was a complete waste of time and money, and now the situation makes even less sense with the introduction of cellulosic biofuels). Combine the diversion with the drought and you have record high corn prices on a crop that the United States is the best and most prolific at producing.
All that means that livestock – including chickens – has been on the decline, since farmers can’t afford larger herds. And that means that chicken wings are more expensive this year than last. Which means because of the policies of the US government, it’ll cost more (and will be less likely) that you’ll have hot wings at your Superbowl bash. And that should mean that you should be p*ssed. If the government just took stock of the current status of technology – and, for that matter, cared that food prices have gone up 3-4% because of their incompetence and lack of foresight – your appetizers would live to see another day.
Alas, they’ll have to sit this one out.