As Americans give thanks this year, they should include lower food prices in their list of blessings. A record-breaking corn and soybean harvest and large global supplies of wheat have helped pull grain prices to multi-year lows, making most foods less expensive this season.
Low-cost grain especially helps lessen the price of most animal products, as livestock are widely fed a diet of corn and soybeans. Cattle, hog, and milk futures all recently dropped to the cheapest price in years. Meanwhile, less-traded, but still important, prices for eggs and poultry have been falling as well, making Thanksgiving meals more affordable this year, no matter what the family favorite dish is.
Prices are also being dragged lower by a strong U.S. dollar. A higher-value greenback makes foreign foods much cheaper domestically and also pushes prices for all goods down.
While inexpensive food is good for consumers, it also means that our food producers are facing some of the lowest incomes seen in years. So remember, when giving thanks for a hearty harvest, be especially grateful for those that brought it in from the field!
In recent weeks, prices for many agricultural commodities have begun rebounding, a sign that low prices may be stimulating demand, a move that will be a welcome relief to cash-strapped producers.