U.S. DroughtJul 17th, 2012 | By Garrison | Category: BFTC Featured
Are our grocery prices going to hit an all time high with the drought? Shoppers across the country should stand up and take notice of the Midwestern drought that has already hurt supplies of corn and soybeans. The drought will lead to higher supermarket prices for everything from milk to meat. How high will depend on what happens with rain and high temperatures in the Corn Belt in the next few weeks.
The U.S. is in the middle of its worst drought in more than 55 years, data released by the National Climatic Data Center show. Based on one index, 55% of the contiguous U.S. is in a drought, “the largest percentage since December 1956, when 58 percent … was in moderate to extreme drought,” the climate center noted.
“We’re at the cusp of seeing how severely this is going to impact consumer prices,” said Darrel Good, professor emeritus of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign. The drought and heat, he said, have ”already done permanent damage to the crops, but our concern is the outlook for the weather is not very good and we’re expecting a further deterioration.”
Prices in the next few weeks for certain products may end up being major deals as a result of the drought. For example, you may want to make room in your freezer for meat because prices for beef and pork are expected to drop in the next few months as farmers slaughter herds to deal with the high cost of grains that are used as livestock feed, said Shawn Hackett of the agricultural commodities firm Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Agriculture experts and economists largely agree that the weather conditions are expected to hurt corn crops, and in turn will impact retail prices. But we won’t know the full impact of the drought until early August or September, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At this point it would be a good idea to start stocking up on and freezing meats, canning / jarring fruits and vegetables. The reason? If the drought gets any worst prices will get higher on everything and some products there will be very little of.
The USDA provides monthly estimates of food prices but the June data showing increases of less than 5 percent for key items such as dairy and meat products does not take the recent grain issues into account. Updated figures on the drought’s impact will be released July 25.
While prices for processed foods such as cereal are not expected to rise considerably unless the shortages get much worse because producers had already instituted huge price hike last year but the cost of things like oil and salad dressing are likely to rise because soybean crops have also been impacted.
Although some rain has fallen on part of the Corn Belt recently, not enough fell on a broad area to make much of a difference in long-term crop yields, AccuWeather reports.
Little relief is expected in the short term in the nation’s parched midsection, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson says. The forecasting company is predicting ongoing heat and drought in parts of southern Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, southern Wisconsin and southwestern Minnesota.
Lets all cross our fingers and hope that mother nature rains down on us and ends this drought. This is also a good reason and opportunity for people to start stocking up on emergency foods and waters.