Stephen Foley: Drought gives farmers a bigger voice in Congress
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Saturday 28 July 2012
US Outlook: Don't be surprised if the price of your morning cornflakes go up. A drought in the midwest here is getting so bad that barges taking grain down the Mississippi are having to lighten their usual loads. The river is so low that they are afraid of getting stuck on the bottom.
The harvest this year looks so bad that corn prices have soared by 50 per cent in six weeks, putting pressure on the price not just of breakfast cereals but of meat, too, since animal feed has also gone through the roof.
But try not to lose any sleep over American farmers. While you are struggling to fill your shopping baskets at a reasonable price, they enjoy very healthy, government-sponsored insurance for crop disasters.
And the drought has increased their lobbying power in Congress, too, just as politicians were finally close to eliminating the most egregious subsidies.
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