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2012 US severe drought season leads to higher food prices?

It’s beginning to look like a bad summer for most of the US. With the focus over the past few weeks on the wildfires, we may be missing the bigger picture. The US Drought Monitor shows a pretty bad situation at the moment, with many parts of the country dry. However, if you look at the forecasts from the National Weather Service, things may be getting worse over the next 3 months.

Here’s their latest Seasonal Assessment – Dryness and drought have been increasing both in extent and intensity across much of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, the Corn Belt region, the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, and much of the Great Plains. Drought is likely to develop, persist or intensify across these areas. Scattered relief may come in the form of cold front passages or organized thunderstorm clusters (MCSs), but for the most part, summers are usually a fairly dry time of year for the central part of the nation.

What does it mean to normal people? These are the heaviest crop-producing areas of the US. If harvests are affected (mostly corn and soybeans), expect higher prices related products such as ethanol (and therefore gas prices), and also meat (since most cattle and poultry are fed corn and soybeans).

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