Entries in Corn (5)


Milk Prices May Rise as Drought Spreads

Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The devastating heat and drought that now covers more than half the continental U.S. is taking its toll on farmers and their crops.  The price of soybeans and corn have hit a new high and wheat prices are at their highest levels in more than four years.

But how will this affect consumers?

Supermarket prices for some foods may rise, but it’s not yet clear how big the increase will be.  Some of the first products that will likely be hit with higher costs are milk and cheese, since cows are producing less milk.

But for now, “milk prices are actually the lowest they’ve been in 18 months because of surpluses built up over an ultra-mild winter and spring," reports USA Today.

Meat prices will likely follow, rising later this year.  And while grain price increases will have some impact on consumers, they make up a relatively small share of processed food costs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prices On the Rise as Drought Strikes the Corn Belt

Ablestock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- About 60 percent of the American corn belt is now trapped in a drought. Wide sections of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio aren't seeing rain. This has left nearly one third of the corn crop in these states in poor or very poor condition.

The price of corn -- which is used in everything from cereal to soda to livestock feed -- rose more than 30 cents on Tuesday alone, and over the last month prices have jumped by 30 percent.

Experts say the first supermarket items most likely to be affected by the price jump are dairy products, beef and chicken, because they all rely on animals fed with corn.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sweltering Heat May Wreak Havoc on Corn Crops

Ablestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The blistering heat behind the bone dry soil is creating major problems for farmers across the corn-belt states.

“We’re in a critical point, could be the beginning of the end,” said Dave Kestel, a farmer.

In Manhattan, Ill., where Kestel is a fourth-generation corn farmer, they are praying for rain. His plants are almost two feet shorter than they should be at this point in the season and the next two weeks are critical.

During the next 14 days, Kestel’s corn plants begin the pollination period. Without the right amount of moisture, his corn crop will be lost.

“If heat and dry weather continue…kernels will just die,” Kestel told ABC News.

It was supposed to be the best corn harvest in decades, but now farmers fear a repeat of the 1988 drought that wiped out millions of acres of corn and caused billions in crop damage, the worst crop setback since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Experts say consumers could end up feeling the pinch in their pocketbook. As much as 75 percent of the products in your grocery store use corn as a key ingredient. Things like cereal, peanut butter and soda could all be affected in the coming months.

“That’s going to raise the price of corn,” said Ricky Volpe, a U.S. Department of Agriculture research economist, “which is immediately going to raise the price of feed, of grains that goes into producing a lot of other foods, a lot of our meat and dairy, and so on and so forth. And that’s going to translate into an increase in the price of retail.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


White House Seeks New US Bio-Fuel Industry Not Based on Corn

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Tuesday announced a $510 million initiative meant to spur development of a new U.S. bio-fuel industry that utilizes non-food crops like algae or wood chips instead of the more traditional source, corn.

Officials billed the plan, a public-private partnership, as part of the administration’s efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs in rural parts of the country.

President Obama has set a goal of reducing U.S. oil imports by one-third by 2025.

While the U.S. currently lacks the capacity to manufacture the so-called next-generation “drop-in” bio-fuels, the new three-year program is expected to jump-start the industry with construction and retrofitting of several new fuel plants.

Private companies that bid for and win government contracts to build the new facilities will receive at least a one-to-one match of federal funds for their investment, officials said.  The money will come from existing budgets at the U.S. Navy and Energy and Agriculture Departments.   

“The idea is that we would help start these new competitive industries, but that they become self-sustaining going forward,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu on a conference call with reporters.

The Navy is expected to be the primary early consumer of the new fuels.

“We buy too much fuel from potentially and actually volatile places on earth,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.  Developing advanced bio-fuels will “reduce vulnerabilities…and save costs and lives.”  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who’s traveling with the president on his bus trip through rural Iowa, said the initiative would also create construction jobs, refinery jobs and “economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country.”

Officials did not specify how many jobs the initiative is expected to create, or when the new fuels will begin flowing out from refineries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Corn Prices Drop Even Further; Relief on the Way?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The price of corn on commodities markets has dropped 10 percent in the past 24 hours, marking the biggest plunge in 15 years.

Three weeks ago, corn prices were at record highs and since then, they have dropped more than 20 percent.  This could translate into some relief for consumers who have been hit with high food costs.

The soaring cost of corn this year has been a big cause of food price inflation.  The crop is still relatively expensive but Friday's plunge on commodity markets comes after an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which said farmers in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and other states planted a lot more corn than expected.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio