The current U.S. Drought Monitor shows a huge swathe of land from CA to Texas, struck by severe drought. How severe? The Drought Monitor system uses a scale from D-zero to D-4
D0 – abnormally dry
D1 – moderate drought
D2 – severe drought
D3 – extreme drought
D4 – exceptional drought
Right now all of California is at or above Severe Drought, and most of the land is under an Extreme or Exceptional Drought:
The effects on food prices, so far, have been minimal. But how long can we withstand this drought? The vast majority of agricultural land in this nation is not irrigated, nor can it be. There is no enough water in the water table to irrigate even half of our agricultural land. If the weather patterns don’t change soon, food price increases and a decrease in availability of many foods will be inevitable.
Corn is a thirsty crop, especially given the intensive growing practices in the U.S. And if corn is more expensive and less available, it affects livestock feed prices. But an increase in feed prices does not merely increase the price of beef and poultry; it decreases availability. When feed costs too much, producers reduce the number of animals by selling them to market. This results in a brief increase in availability and decrease in price. But what follows is a restricted supply and a big jump in prices.
California is the source of a large portion of the fruits and vegetables grown in this nation. So are some of the other States hit by this drought. Increases in prices for these foods are also likely in the near future.
Do you have a survival garden yet? Consider starting one.