by Melissa Brunner
If you're not a farmer and can put up with a bit of a prickly lawn, you probably aren't thinking much about the current drought situation. Future trips to the grocery store could change your mind.
CNN posted a story today with Richard Volpe, an economist with USDA's economic research. If the drought continues, he warned, you can expect higher beef, pork, poultry and dairy prices. If producers can't get corn to feed animals, he explained, the meat market would be hit with price increases first - and those price hikes could stick around a while.
Not only that, Volpe says field corn is also used for corn meal, corn syrup and ethanol. Products made with those also could take a hit.
The good news is that Volpe says a 50 percent jump in the price of field corn usually translates to a one percent hike in retail food prices. But, as drought persists, over time, even those prices can add up.
It's something to keep an eye out for in the next two to three months, with the full impact perhaps not hitting until next year.
You might not be a farmer yourself, but, like it or not, you'll feel their pain.