According to a recent government report, the drought gripping the Corn Belt and more than half the United States has reached proportions not seen in more than 50 years. This is jacking up crop prices and threatening to drive up the cost of food.
About 55 percent of the continental United States is now designated as in moderate drought or worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than 1,000 counties in 26 states as natural disaster areas.
Forecasters expect a high-pressure area to remain entrenched over the Rockies and central United States. As a result, any storm systems will probably track across southern Canada, missing the worst affected areas in the middle of the United States.
Petition to St. Isidore
Farmers with irrigation systems will manage to get through the drought, but many farms are rain-dependent. Farmers with crop insurance will blunt the full effect of the drought, but it looks to be a rough time when planting season earlier in the year looked so promising.
State governments will do their best to help their farmers. We also offer our prayers and concern for the farm families who were counting on a good farm year. We petition our patron saint, Isidore the Farmer, to intercede on their behalf and we invite our network to pray theNovena to St. Isidore.
Impact on consumers
It is important to note that the rapid rise in the price of corn does not directly translate into similar jumps in consumer prices. Only about 14 or 15 cents of each dollar a consumer spends on food is attributable to the farm, according to economists. The rest of the cost of food arises from processing, transportation and other factors such as demand.
As a result, even large swings in crop prices can have relatively muted effects on what consumers pay at the supermarket.
However, any inflation in food prices is felt by lower-income Americans; they tend to spend a larger share of their household income on food. So we ask that you keep them in your prayers, too.
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