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Drought Raises Beef, Poultry Prices: Time To Go Meatless?

Drought Raises Beef, Poultry Prices: Time To Go Meatless?

The severe drought, the worst since the 1950s, that has gripped the US means that food prices will rise 3 to 4 percent in 2013. The US Department of Agriculture has declared natural disasters in almost 1,300 counties in 29 states, about a third in the US. After initial predictions of a bumper crop, the corn harvest is expected to be the smallest since 2006.

The price of a bushel a corn is now $8, up 50 percent from where it was last year, as 88 percent of the corn crop has been affected by the drought. Poultry prices are expected to rise immediately (3.5 to 4.5 percent by later this year) due to the rising price of corn feed. Egg prices are also expected to rise (as much as 4 percent) and those for milk, pork and beef to follow next year. Dairy products are to increase 3.5 to 4.5 percent, pork 2.5 to 3.5 percent and beef, 4 to 5 percent.

As the US is the world’s biggest exporter of corn, global food prices are expected to rise this year, which could discourage “central banks from easing monetary policy,” according to a report from Merrill Lynch Health Management in Bloomberg.

Food costs are already up 1 percent this year and you can be sure that purveyors of burgers and sodas (corn being used as a sweetener for the latter) are watching prices, though Bloomberg reports that McDonalds had already brought meat and grain before the drought affected prices — fast food will remain as cheap as ever (and therefore a too tempting option).

The drought-induced higher food prices could causeunrest around the world. AsGrist points out, “some Middle East experts say that rising prices even triggered the Arab Spring,providing a spark that ignited long-simmering tensions and resentments [PDF].”

In the US, though, those of us who don’t eat meat and dairy products may not be so affected by rising food prices. Fruit and vegetable prices have gone up due to frosts earlier in the year. But asRay Gilmer, a spokesman for theUnited Fresh Produce Association, tells the New York Times, producers of fruits and vegetables have not been affected by the drought. “Most of these operations are irrigated and the water is highly regulated so we are not having issues with our crops,” says Gilmer. Could going meatless turn out not only to be better for the planet, but cheaper?

Related Care2 Coverage

Record Heat Wave Devastates U.S. Corn and Soy Crops, Drives Food Prices Higher

Top 10 Science Questions To Ask Your Candidate

This Drought is an Opportunity to Think About Replacing Lawns with Gardens

Americans Now Eat Less Meat But the Rest of the World Wants More



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10:10PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Please sign the Care 2 petition entitled "Stop Public Lands Ranching" which will help the millions of wild animals who are slaughtered every year to appease the Livestock Industry.

10:03PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

As a health professional, I see the consequences of the human addiction to animal flesh in the chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other "diseases" which are largely preventable. The most healthy, environmentally sustainable and humane eating is the Plant-based Lifestyle.

But, frankly this isn't the worst of it: The Livestock Industry is a major contributor to Global Climate Change which the UN Food and Agriculture Report discussed several years ago. Few listened, and the report was smothered by the meat industry.

In the Western U.S., increasing drought, high winds, and hotter temperatures are causing lakes and streams to dry up .Snowpack and rain is rare these days. There will be little, if any water for irrigation this year in New Mexico and other states. More Mega-Forest Fires are predicted for this spring and summer.

Yet, The Livestock Industry continues to graze exotic animals (cattle and sheep) on our Public Lands (National Forests, Wilderness Lands, etc) at below-market rates, while these ecosytems decline. Wildlife suffer, and are slaughtered to appease the Public Lands Ranchers, who have a long history of prejudice against wolves, coyotes, bears, prairiedogs, mountain lions, bobcats, badgers--you name it--as these native animals are deemed "competition" to the ranchers.

If we are to save what is left of our Natural Environment and Wildlife, we need to get The Livestock Industry off our Public Lands now, before it's t

3:27PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

NOT everyone wants to go "meatless" and people will continue to buy meat if they want to. I eat a very small amount of meat myself. And by the way, meat IS taxed at the store, like everything else. What is wrong with some people?!?! Tax this, Tax that. Get real AND get a life. I do NOT care what you eat and I do NOT judge you. Just as I expect NOT to be judged by you. Peace and Love. Isn't this Care2, after all?!?!

3:15PM PST on Feb 13, 2013

Natasha: "Meat eaters should be taxed!!!" They are being taxed. EVERYONE is being taxed. Hunters pay for a license and then PAY for the tags needed for the animals to say that they legally caught them. As for the store, stores AND state tax everything. Now whether or not those tax dollars are going to help the environment is not the fault of common tax payers, but that of the government. I know plenty of hunters who say that they would like to see the money from the tags and the licenses go back to taking care of nature and the environment, mind you they are not sport "hunters" (legal poachers), but ones who do is for food.

9:16AM PST on Feb 10, 2013

It's always a good time to go meatless. People who want their meat,whether they kill the animal or buy it at the grocer,should without a doubt be TAXED!!!! You want that meat,well pay up baby!!! This would do wonders for our environment,forests,poverty and mostly the animals!!!!

9:01AM PST on Feb 7, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:26PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Dale O, Your point was...What? A vegetarian diet saved Clintons life, or possibly lengthened it, after all, quality is always better than quantity.

I get it, your still angry with him because he stole Monica from you. My advice, let it go, get a life, she gone.

11:36AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

I've been seriously considering going meatless again for many, many reasons. Food prices are going up and up and eating less or no meat can be very helpful in lowering food costs. Eating less or no meat can also make one's life better in other ways and I think about going vegetarian a lot. We've been scaling back for a while now and I think moderation is easier than "going cold turkey" so to speak.

The cruelty involved in the raising and slaughtering of the vast majority of "food animals" is also something to think about. It isn't much of a justification if we are eating animals, and allowing them to suffer through brief and terrible lives, because they taste good. Maybe the skyrocketing prices will accomplish what appeals to compassion have not, maybe it will be the push my family needs to go meatless.

8:25AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Prices of everything rises constantly, meat going up along with other consumer items is nothing new and won't stop most from eating it.

Grace S gives a list of vegetarians and implies that by being a vegetarian one can attain marvellous health. True, but one can also eat meat in reasonable portions and also remain healthy if it is organic.

The idea of Walmart factory farm meat isn't appetizing, it's toxic. So are their GMO and pesticide laden veggies/fruits.

Michael C., Bill Clinton became a vegan because his diet was so excessive that it robbed him of his health. Some of his favourites were enchiladas, ribs, cheeseburgers, two pound steaks, fried chicken, he devoured takeout such as chili con queso with 3 cheeses, potato salad, many high fat foods, calorie laden desserts such as monster cinnamon rolls and had a few veggies. While he is healthier now, he wouldn't have had heart problems had he been a moderate gourmand of both meat, high calorie foods/desserts. He was a super sizer with a reputation! Certainly one can mitigate "negative effects" of red meat by going organic but this applies to all meat and poultry since factory farming is toxic, feeds non-species specific diets laden with GMOs, hormones, antibiotics. Organic farming avoids this toxic brew, allowing for animals to be outside and not crammed into cages/small spaces.

8:25AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

My arteries aren't going to clog because the meat that I eat is in small portions along with being organic, certainly not factory farm. Nor am I chopping 20 years off my life.

Prices of all foods also rise when oil/gas prices go up or when winter hits in the cold parts of the world. There is always some excuse about why one "shouldn't: eat meat and one tires of listening to these when eating a balanced nutritious diet, keeping portions reasonable (the size of a deck of cards not a steak over flowing over the plate). I also avoid GMO veggies and fruit because these are unnatural and Monsanto is a frightening threat to the supply of real food.

People don't need meat every day but for those of us who eat it there is no problem. Moderation is the key. Prices of everything keeps going up but I'm not giving up clothing either or organic fruit/veggies in the winter.

As for Bill Clinton, his diet was so excessive little wonder he had health problems, portion size, Southern Cooking...

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