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    Protein Producers Decry Highest PPI Hike in 27 Years

    Prices for finished goods rose 10 percent in the 12-month period that ended in July.

    With the latest Producer Price Index report showing the highest year-over-year increase in 27 years, meat and poultry industry representatives expressed disappointment and frustration with U.S. food-to-fuel policies that they say are courting runaway food inflation.

    Further, corn prices were over 80 percent higher than last year, contributing to a 41.8 percent increase in the index for prepared animal feeds.

    The hike of 10 percent for the PPI reported Tuesday was the highest since a 10.4 percent jump in June 1981, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    "[The] Producer Price Index report is further evidence that the poultry industry is one of the many businesses bearing the brunt of our nation's misguided ethanol policies," said Bill Roenigk, s.v.p. and chief economist for the National Chicken Council. "Price increases for chicken have been muted compared with the actual run-up in feed costs, which have risen an incredible 41.8 percent over last year and over 8 percent in one month."

    Roenigk added that food inflation was poised to begin and continue "for many, many months," said.

    Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation, said as ethanol policies demand greater portions of grain crops, prices for commodities will continue to climb.

    "All indications are that soaring feed costs are going to force livestock and poultry producers to raise prices and make significant production cutbacks in the coming months, or risk going out of business," Brandenberger. "For the sake of both American producers and consumers, Congress needs to take a long, hard look down the road and act now to reverse [its] failed food-to-fuel policies."

    For his part, the American Meat Institute's J. Patrick Boyle said the PPI increase "once again confirms that the government's decision to convert a third of our corn crop into ethanol continues to drive up production costs for meat and poultry products," thus foisting a greater burden on the pocketbooks of consumers.

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