There were riots in Mexico a few months back now over this very issue.Biofuels are the main cause of this problem.Many farmers quit planting broccoli, potatoes, strawberries, and the like to score off the biofuel push. Now its getting out of hand.Expect food and other items (fuel) to continue to rise!All thanks to the “no drilling in Alaska/alternative fuels crowd.”
Corn Prices Jump to Record $6 a Bushel, Driving Up Costs for Food, Alternative Energy
NEW YORK (AP) -- Corn prices jumped to a record $6 a bushel Thursday, driven up by an expected supply shortfall that will only add to Americans' growing grocery bill and further squeeze struggling ethanol producers.
Corn prices have shot up nearly 30 percent this year amid dwindling stockpiles and surging demand for the grain used to feed livestock and make alternative fuels including ethanol. Prices are poised to go even higher after the U.S. government this week predicted that American farmers -- the world's biggest corn producers -- will plant sharply less of the crop in 2008 compared to last year....
.... Corn for the most actively traded May contract rose 4.25 cents to settle at $6 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier rising to $6.025 a bushel -- a new all-time high.
Worldwide demand for corn to feed livestock and to make biofuel is putting enormous pressure on global supply. And with the U.S. expected to plant less corn, the supply shortage will only worsen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that farmers will plant 86 million acres of corn in 2008, an 8 percent drop from last year.
Moreover, cold, wet weather in parts of the U.S. corn belt may force farmers to delay spring planting, potentially sending prices even higher.
While corn growers are reaping record profits, U.S. consumers can expect even higher grocery bills -- especially for meat and pork -- as livestock producers are forced to pass on higher animal feed costs and thin their herd size.
"Higher corn prices is going to affect meat prices. If you're feeding with $6 corn, you'll definitely have some (cost) pressure," Kub said.
In addition, corn and corn syrup are used in an array of products, meaning the price of everything from candy to soft drinks will eventually go up, analysts say. It's the latest dose of bad news for U.S. consumers, who are already struggling with higher food costs from record increases in the price of wheat, soybeans and other agriculture products.
Another loser in higher corn costs is ethanol producers, who are struggling to squeeze out gains as corn's record-setting run outpaces the price of ethanol, currently at around $2.50 a gallon.
"For years, corn was cheap and fermentation processes for ethanol production came to completely dominate the biofuel industry in North America," Michael Jackson, president and chairman of Vancouver-based ethanol maker Syntec Biofuel, said this week. "Now, with corn prices well over $5 a bushel, corn ethanol economics have gone out the window."
The nation's 147 ethanol plants now have the capacity to produce 8.5 billion gallons of fuel a year, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Corn is the basic feedstock for most of the plants and about 20 percent of last year's 13 billion bushel corn crop was consumed by ethanol production. That percentage is expected to increase to 30 percent for the next crop year, which ends Aug. 31, 2009, according to Terry Francl, a senior economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.