Plan ahead for the biggest threat to your food budget
Ray Gaesser, a corn farmer in Corning, Iowa, endured the effects of climate change last year when heavy rains made it more difficult to dry his crop. “We had to put [the corn] in our grain storage and run air through it at least for a few weeks,” Gaesser said, and the drying process led to higher energy costs.
Extreme weather over recent decades in corn-producing states like Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Minnesota has greatly hurt corn production. Following the severe drought farmlands went through a few years ago, heavy rains are now causing soil destruction, making it difficult for corn to thrive.
Monsanto says it’s coming to the rescue. They invested more than $1.5 billion in research and development efforts last year to design better corn seeds that can withstand these extreme weather conditions. The catch – Monsanto seeds designed to combat climate change are considerably higher in price.
So let’s get this straight – Climate change hurts corn production, which raises corn prices, and Monsanto seeds boost corn production, but their high cost of seed raises corn prices? Sounds like a lose-lose situation. And corn is such a major pillar of the U.S. economy, a hike in its cost affects more than just our food containing corn. The price of meat (36% of U.S. corn yield is used to feed livestock) and fuel (40% is used to make ethanol) will both rise.
As warming and technology push up the price of corn (and you can do little to evade this crop staple) you can only plan ahead to leave room in your budget for higher food prices. Have you planned your household budget long term? Take advantage of the Budget Bookmark found within Climate-Proof Your Personal Finances and online, a budget template showing only the items most vulnerable to the effects of warming.