Food crisis coming? Is climate change here?

A severe drought in the US is driving up world prices of corn and soybeans past record levels seen in 2008. Prices of wheat have risen sharply recently. In 2008, lower inventories were the cause of food riots and beggar-thy-neighbour policies by some countries which were in a panic at the time. The Financial Times reports that many agricultural economists are predicting the destabilizing consequences of higher prices may be less than 2008 because shortages of these commodities are not yet appearing.

This week however, The Financial Times reports that beef, pork and poultry producers are predicting global price increases for their products in excess of 10%. They link this to the severe US drought and the consequent shortage of feedstock for meat, soybeans and corn.

Writing in the July 23, 2012 New Yorker, food commentator and climatologist writer, Elizabeth Kolbert discusses the issue. But first she describes how corn is affected by drought. It turns out that the sex life of corn fails as temperatures increase. For an interesting read on corn’s sex life, read the article. Could the same thing happen to humans who certainly seem prone to sluggishness in the Ontario heat wave.

First casualty reported near home – Chef Loseto heard at the market that our quail supplier shut down his farm because the cost of feed had become too high.



– Le Patron

Follow for my ruminations on local seasonal food markets as well as speculation on broader global food issues @lepatronecc3