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Inflation domino effect driving up costs from farm to table, chicken feed to chicken wing

How To Raise Chickens In Your Backyard — From Someone Who’s Done It
Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 17, 2021

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Inflation has affected many things across the U.S., but those in Northeast Ohio are seeing the direct impact on the costs of turkey and chicken.

At Wholesome Valley Farms, the work never stopped, even during the pandemic, but their product wasn't completely immune to any changes.

“For us, we were fortunate there's increased demand last year for the products we sell. On the downside though, this year our costs have gone up,” said Trevor Clatterbuck with Wholesome Valley farm.

At Wholesome Valley farmers, they harvested about 18,000 chickens this year, with the last batch going out on Friday, but the impacts of inflation don’t stop there. It’s also affecting turkey sales due to the price of bird feed.

“So this year, chickens and turkeys we had to raise the price on because our cost of feed has gone up about 28%,” Clatterbuck said.

He used to buy corn, which is 50% of the mill his birds are fed, for $4.50 a bushel. Now he pays $9.16.

“That bird probably ate about 100 pounds. And so right now our blend rate on feed is 34 cents per pound. So that bird ate about $34,” said Trevor. That caused him to raise the price of his smaller birds by 75 cents, and larger ones by 25 cents.

“Smaller birds cost me more to raise than bigger birds. It sounds weird but the cost to have a chick slaughtered and processed is the same for a 20-pound bird and a 5-pound bird,” Clatterbuck said.

That leads to the supply chain domino effect, as production and costs go up, so does the prices at your local restaurants.

“I don’t know if you guys have heard, but food is very expensive, said Heather Doeberling at Boss ChickNbeer. "Have you been to the grocery store?"

At Boss ChickNbeer, they get their chicken locally. They used to buy a case of chicken wings for $70, but not anymore.

“Well, as we're sitting here today, a case costs $138 so I can expect things around the Super Bowl. Yes, record costs, but it wouldn't it be insane to think near $200,” said Doeberling.

That will, in turn, necessitate a raise in their pricing.

“We sold wings at $10 a pound until a couple months ago. But our prices have more than doubled. So now we're charging $14 a pound. I'm not making any money off of that,” said Doeberling.

This isn’t too much of a worry for Doeberling, because her business is more than just great food. It's also about great company.

“We believe in pricing so that people can afford to buy them,” Heather continued. “So I would rather make $0 on a pound of chicken wings and be able to have a couple of people come in and have lunch together.”

Even with the inflation, Boss ChickNbeer will keep serving hot chicken, while Clatterbuck will keep harvesting.

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