Thanks to one of the worst droughts we’ve had in years, corn and soy farms are having a pretty terrible year. The USDA announced lower yield expectations for the second month in a row today, but if you’re thinking the lack of soy and corn might make it a good time to try paleo, think again. For starters, the market is still confused…so it’s still unclear whether this is going to drive up our grocery store bills. But even if it does drive up grocery store bills, you’ll probably feel it most in meat and processed foods.
Following the USDA’s news about corn futures, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on a visit to Nebraska (one of several states hit hardest by the drought) that we shouldn’t worry about food prices at all right now:
Americans shouldn’t see immediate increases in food prices due to the drought. What is important going forward is that we continue to do all we can to help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses and communities being impacted by this drought.
Plus, if you’ve ever read any Michael Pollan, you’ll remember that corn and soy are largely used in processed foods and the animal feed used in factory farms. (And the USDA specified in their announcement today that they expected a reduction in the amount of “corn used in ethanol production, in animal feed and for export,” according to the Wall Street Journal.) So if you’re looking to develop some thrifty habits at the store, this might be a good time to revisit your goals of eating a plant-based, whole foods diet; processed foods (which are a huge repository of soy products in this country) and factory-farmed meat is likely going to be where the drought costs you, if it does at all. If you do want meat, look for grass-fed beef (or go to a butcher that sells it).