Thanksgiving Reading List

Posted by David Widmar on November 23, 2015


This holiday week we have deviated from our usual weekly post to share a collection of articles and topics we thought you would enjoy. If nothing else, these articles might be helpful when making conversation with your long-lost cousins.

Energy Prices: Stories about low energy prices, especially crude oil, have made several headlines recently. Scott Irwin wrote a FarmDocDaily piece looking at inflation adjusted prices of natural gas and crude oil to add some historical perspective. Prices are considerable lower than just a few years ago and approaching levels last seen a decade ago. A major driver of lower crude prices has been abundant supplies which apparently created a few oil tanker traffic jams.

Seed Expense: Gary Schnitkey’s recent FarmDocDaily posts takes a look at corn seed costs in Illinois. His findings were similar to those we found in our earlier posts (corn and soybean seed expense here and a look at corn seed expenses back in 2014). Gary’s conclusion are most noteworthy as he poses the question about the future of seed prices and the merger/acquisitions talks among several seed technology companies.

Thanksgiving Turkeys: Last week we took a look at turkey production and observed this year’s turkeys will be smaller than last year (they are also pricier with a higher share being frozen). The Wall Street Journal considered a longer time-frame and found the average turkey size has increased from nearly 17 pounds in 1960 to more than 30 pounds in 2014.

More Christmas Gifts in 2015? Gallup recently reported their survey of US consumers found plans for higher spending on Christmas gifts this year. On average, US adults are expected to spend $830 on Christmas gifts, up more than 15% from last year! Furthermore, this would be a return to levels last seen before the Great Recession. Given the surge in planned spending, maybe the Federal Reserve is onto something for that potential interest rate increase in December?

A Black Friday Caution: A few years ago (2012) the Wall Street Journal took a look at retail pricing data. They found that Black Friday prices were not always the cheapest prices, even during the holiday season. For those on the fence about fighting the cold and crowds this Black Friday, this is an old but good read.

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours,
David and Brent

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Photo Source: Flickr/Robert and Pat Rogers

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