By James Harker-Syren
Throughout the U. S. Midwest, we are having a drought unlike anything seen in over 50 years! It’s so bad that 26 states have been declared natural disaster areas. The reason for the increased droughts is the warming climate due to climate change.
Given where this drought is happening (the Corn Belt in the Midwest), corn is being hit the worst, and its prices have already increased 50% since May. Soy beans also are at risk, depending on how long the drought lasts.
The price of corn tends to have a ripple effect throughout the economy. Many products use corn (think cornstarch, corn syrup, etc.) and corn is used to feed animals for meat. Corn is also used in ethanol, so gas prices likely will be impacted.
Experts expect higher prices in grocery stores because of the extent to which our food supply is dependent on corn. This got me wondering whether some products will be affected more than others. Yes, this will have a broad impact on the economy and, specifically, on food. From what I can tell, the greatest impact will be on processed foods and meats. Corn and related products, like cornstarch, corn syrup, etc. are in tons of processed foods. Meat prices also will rise, given the use of tons of corn to cheaply feed their livestock.
I will be watching prices at our farmers market this fall to see what type of impact the draught has. Sadly, I expect the greatest impact to be on low-income families who aren’t as educated about diet.