Severe drought likely to impact grocers, consumers
By Hendrik Sybrandy | FOX31 Denver
WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Forecasts of leaner corn harvests in Colorado and other states are now leading to predictions of sharply higher food prices in the months ahead. On Friday, the Agriculture Department said that thanks to this year’s drought, the 2012 corn yield would be the lowest in 17 years. One corn grower in Weld County said that sounds right to him.
“I’m 20 years old and I’ve been helping out on the family farm since I could walk and this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Justin Loeffler, who lives and works near Lasalle. He said bone-dry conditions have caused corn fields to yellow significantly. Many ears of corn are much smaller than they normally are in mid-August. He said a typical harvest of 200+ bushels per acre could be cut in half this fall.
“It’s a very big deal,” he said.
Loeffler said lower corn yields are already driving up corn prices.
“Yesterday it hit over $8.30 a bushel which is an astounding amount for a bushel of corn,” he said. “Supply and demand.”
He said that’s making cattle feed more expensive and that, in turn, could drive up the price of beef by the first of the year.
“That will absolutely trickle to the consumer,” Loeffler said. And he said higher wheat and soybean prices could increase the cost of other foods as well.
“It’s far reaching, very far reaching,” he said.
Loeffler said continued drought could not only affect consumers at the supermarket, it could put many farmers out of business.
“If we go through another year of this we’re going to start seeing farmers go broke,” he said.