By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Hopes for a record corn crop have crumbled under the summer sun. Now, the federal government's predicting prices on food will go up at least three to four percent.
"I already think groceries are expensive the way they are," said Ashley Ross, a South Sioux City, Nebraska resident.
This is the first time the USDA has factored the drought into their food forecast. It says the biggest impact will be on beef, dairy and poultry products, because, animal feed, which is mostly made of corn, is the largest expense to livestock producers. Morningside College Associate Economics Professor Thom Swanke calls the situation serious.
"I think that problem is, is corn can only grow once. We're going to have some trouble because tons and tons of corn which we were expecting to happen won't show up," said Swanke.
Next to water, corn could arguably the most important commodity.
"Whoever said that to you is exactly right. Corn is the bedrock for almost every food and a lot of non-food things that we have in our home," Swanke said.
That's true from the bakery to the baby food aisle.
"Cornflakes, corn meal, corn flower, corn tortillas," pointed out Kathy Winter of Sibley, Iowa.
Katsup, mayo, and salad dressing, all contain corn. So do, pudding, powdered sugar, vinegar, tortillas, baby formula, peanut butter and jelly. Cereal, soda, marshmallows, and meat, too. The list goes on and on.
Know what else has corn? Chewing gum.
"A lot of things that I hadn't really thought of," said Winter.
One way to tell if there's corn in your food is to read the label. Dextrose, glucose, dextrin, maltodextrin, and fructose are sure signs.
"And of course, fuel contains corn," said Tim McDaniel, of Alta, Iowa.
It isn't just food and fuel. It's also in laundry detergent, aspirin, baby powder, toothpaste, stickers and stamps.
"We also just purchased carpeting that is made from corn," added McDaniel's wife Kathleen.
You have time to prepare. The impact to your pocket book probably won't be felt until next year.
"What we're buying and selling at the stores right now, is what we harvested last year," explained Swanke.
So, whether or not you're a farmer, it looks like Mother Nature is going to eventually make you pay.
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