News reports are everywhere telling us about the severe drought conditions around the United States, and according to most sources, there is no end in sight. You might think that because you’re not a gardener that this widespread issue doesn’t affect you, but you’d be wrong.
Let’s take a look at just one of the most high profile crops impacted by the ongoing drought conditions, corn. Corn and ingredients that are made from corn are in thousands of items that we use every day. Most of us consume it whether we realize it or not.
One major way that we are going to be impacted is with regard to the price of meat products. Livestock are often fed corn. The cost of corn is higher, which means the cost of feeding the livestock is higher. Who do you think is going to pay for that? BINGO. The price of our ground beef just jumped.
Here are a few more examples you might not have thought of:
- Many fast food chains pad their burgers and beef products with corn.
- The cows from which fast food beef was derived were fed corn.
- The fountain sodas (diet and regular) contain corn.
- French fries are most often fried in vegetable oil that contains corn.
- The first ingredient in ketchup is high fructose corn syrup.
- Fast food chicken nuggets contain corn and are fried in it.
- Fast food shakes contain high fructose corn syrup.
Many of the items you buy every day at the supermarket contain corn-based products, including:
- Fruit juices and juice drinks
- Salad dressings
- Baked goods
- Vitamin D-fortified milk
- Peanut Butter
But corn is food, so only food products are affected, right? Wrong. You’re buying corn when you purchase many of these items as well:
- Bubble Gum
- Envelope Adhesives
It’s likely that the cost of a tank of gas is being inflated by more than just the cost of crude. According to the USDA, 40% of all corn grown in the U.S. is used for ethanol. In 2012, refiners must purchase no less than 13 billion gallons of the stuff for mixing with gasoline, regardless of the price. While this won’t increase the cost of a gallon of gas by much, when it is already inflated, every cent counts.
The fact that each of these items contains corn means that to a certain degree, the cost to produce these items is going to increase because of the severely-depleted corn crops. When the post of manufacture increases, those costs are passed on to the consumer. In other words, you are paying for the drought whether you knew it or not.