What Happens When King Corn Suffers a Drought?


"Corn is king," writes Jerry Hirsch in Sunday's Los Angeles Times. And that's a problem.

As corn becomes more important to the production of milk, meat, eggs, sweeteners and, now, fuel for automobiles, what happens if there is a glitch in the supply? What if there is a drought in the Midwest? Not only would the price of breakfast at Denny's go up, but so would gas at the pump. "We are replacing price volatility from the Middle East with Midwestern weather price volatility," said Michael Swanson, a Wells Fargo & Co. vice president and agricultural economist.

There have been four major "weather disasters" since 1971, according to the Times, that have "wiped out 21% to 29% of the corn crop at a time. As prices go up in the US, it means there are food shortages elsewhere in the world.