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Tags: Midwest | Drought | meat | Prices

Experts: Midwest Drought Expected to Push Meat Prices Higher

By    |   Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:51 PM EDT

Get ready to pay more your burger because of the Midwest drought.

As the worst drought in 50 years raises the price of corn, food prices will increase across the board, but beef, pork and poultry will increase the most, as corn is the main feedstock for cattle, chicken and pigs, experts say.

Unless the drought ends soon, the cost of fresh protein could increase 10 percent, Michael Miller, senior vice president of global research at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, told CNNMoney. Beef prices might increase from an average of $4.35 per pound last year to $4.80 per pound this year.

Already, the prices of corn futures have increased 50 percent to $7.79 a bushel in the past month.

Food prices typically increase 1 percent for each 50 percent increase in corn, but prices of some types of food increase much more than others, said Richard Volpe, an economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to CNNMoney.

How much food prices will increase won't be known until crops are harvested later this year.

"We're in one of those situations where everyone is watching the weather and corn prices from the edge of their seats," Miller told CNNMoney. "This is the first time in a long time that we've had a drought this significant in the Corn Belt, and that's why the market is so nervous."

The drought might also boost the price of ethanol, which is added to gasoline, The Washington Post reported.

Weather forecasters do not expect rain in the Midwest anytime soon, according to The Post. A high-pressure system will probably stay put over the Rockies and the central United States and send rain across southern Canada.

"We have not seen this kind of weather in at least 30 years. Farmers in many areas are resigned to the fact that they have anywhere from modest losses to complete losses of their crop," Bill Lapp, president of the commodities consulting firm Advanced Economics Solutions, told The Post.

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:51 PM
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