The bankruptcy of a California poultry producer is detailing how the Midwestern drought is still rippling through the U.S. economy, report Stephanie Gleason and Ian Berry at the Wall Street Journal. Citing the soaring cost of grains used in animal feed, family-owned Zacky Farms filed for bankruptcy protection and said it plans to put itself on the block. The company, founded in 1928, said its finances have been strained because it is spending nearly $2 million weekly to feed its nearly 2 million turkeys and 600,000 chickens. Poultry producers typically feed their birds corn and soybean meal, a protein source made from crushed soybeans. Futures prices for corn, soybeans and soybean meal all set record highs over the summer at the Chicago Board of Trade as the worst drought in decades battered crops in the Midwest. Zacky’s troubles reflect the sharply rising production costs afflicting the nation’s poultry and livestock industries. Those costs, which already have pushed consumer food prices higher, may trigger more bankruptcies and speed industry consolidation. The drought is what many scientists now consider a manifestation of climate change.
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