Food prices worries rise as drought deepens
ST. LOUIS (AP) – The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday cut its estimate of the nation’s corn crop for the second consecutive month, adding to concern about food price increases as the nation’s worst drought in decades deepens.
The USDA predicted the nation’s biggest harvest ever in the spring, when farmers planted 96.4 million acres of corn – the most since 1937. It cut its estimate a month ago to the third-largest harvest, and on Friday, to the eighth-largest and the smallest since 2006.
If that estimate holds, the U.S. will produce 10.8 billion bushels of corn this year. The federal government says that is enough to meet the world’s needs and ensure there are no shortages. But experts say food prices will almost certainly climb as corn is a widely used ingredient found in everything from cosmetics to cereal, colas and candy bars.
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