Midwest Drought Threatens Cali’s Cattle Ranchers

As feed costs skyrocket, so will the price of meat
As feed costs skyrocket, so will the price of meat Photo: Lorenkerns via Flickr

Californians more or less know what to do when it comes drought-time. You cut down on the length of your showers, turn the off tap when you’re brushing your teeth, and narc on that neighbor who keeps spraying the sidewalk. But today The L.A. Times reports that Californians are set to face much higher food costs in the coming months, all due to the severe droughts currently affecting Midwest farmland.

The speculation all comes down to the price it costs to feed the animals raised in California to provide our meals. Due the to hot, harsh weather, farms raising feed in the middle of the country are experiencing a shortage of the corn and soybeans used to feed cattle, poultry, and pigs, raising the cost of the product, and thus the price for the meats that subsist on them by fifteen percent in the months ahead.

California has a massive industry for cattle, and lesser, but still significantly large, pork, poultry, and egg industries. With less rain this year in the country’s bread basket, in which 1,400 counties in 24 states have already been declared natural disaster areas by the USDA, comes a poorer corn crop, which can shrink cattle herds as costs soar and ranchers cut back on buying cattle.

The problems, which will impact the nation as a whole with higher prices, will be more severe in California as our ranchers and meat producers look to more expensive feed bearing higher transportation costs.

The notably higher price of producing the animals we enjoy between two buns will lead to a spike in meat prices, with one beef cattle industry professional predicting, “This is going have a huge impact on the industry, on California agriculture and on the public. It’s going to hit people in the pocketbook.”

While Californians may pay more at the store, some cattle ranchers and poultry producers, including those who raise squab on a 90% corn diet, fear the increased price of production will even put them out of business altogether. One Turlock dairy professional warns, “Some will want to get out to keep some of their equity…We’re going to see some farmers exit.”

Food prices to rise in California amid drought elsewhere [LAT]

Midwest Drought Threatens Cali’s Cattle Ranchers