Have you heard about this horrible, widespread summer drought? The Midwest is experiencing the worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. Folks, it's that bad. It looks like nearly a third of our country's corn crops could be completely shot. I feel for our farmers!
And if you're wondering if that's going to affect your grocery bill -- YEP. We could see higher prices at the supermarket later this year, especially for cereal and anything else made with corn and/or soybean, which means ... well, pretty much everything past the produce aisle. It's not just cereal and processed foods that could rise in price. Guess what else will get expensive ...
Meat. We're not the only ones living on corn and soybeans -- that's what pigs and cattle feed on, too. Finance professor Jeff Born has been touring drought-stricken farms across the country and he says things will get worse before they get better. His advice for us? "If you like bacon/pork you should buy it now, because by the fall you are going to be stunned at what it will cost."
But don't panic yet! Born may be overstating things. USDA chief Tom Vilsack says energy prices have a much bigger effect on food prices than a drought will.
As for when we'll see prices rise, guesses range from two or three months from now to early 2013. In fact, we may see meat prices take a little dip this summer before they rise again (see the video below to find out why). No one is willing to say how much grocery bills will rise. But whatever happens, we probably won't see OMGWHAT?!? price hikes all at once. It will be a more gradual change. But the price increases could go on for a long time.
Hmm, going back to that idea of buying meat now ... maybe it's time to stock the freezer?
Are you worried about how the drought will affect your wallet?
Image via Brandi Jordan/Flickr