Severe U.S. drought raises food prices

As the U.S. struggles with the worst drought it’s seen in nearly half a century, food prices are expected to rise. Consumers will be paying, quite literally, for the heat that is increasing the cost of feed corn. Meat and milk will become more expensive as feed prices rise.

USDA figures released today say that the largest percentage increase in the next year will be for beef. Dairy products, eggs, and pork are all expected to rise as well.

This is the first government estimate of how prices could rise next year because of the drought that has affected most of the country this summer. The U.S. has had lower corn, soybean, and other commodity crop yeilds than usual.

From The New York Times:

Corn is now selling at about $8 a bushel — up 50 percent from where it was priced at just a month ago. Soybeans are at a record price of almost $17 a bushel, up from $13, just two months ago. Food prices over all rise about 1 percent for every 50 percent increase in corn prices, because corn is used in dozens of products, according to the Agriculture Department. Corn can be found in everything from soft drinks to baby food, but nearly half of the crop is used to feed livestock.

A spike in food prices won’t just affect the U.S., but the world at large as well. The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter or corn, wheat, and soy beans. Those prices have soared domestically, will rise for everyone else, too.


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