Corn Shortages Hurting Mississippi FarmersBy Daniel Cherry | Published 16 Aug 2011 07:59pm |
The supply of corn is tightening up nationwide due to the heat and drought. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the rise in prices is going to have a big impact on some Mississippi farmers.
The price of corn per bushel is nearly twice what it was last year. Cattle farmers rely heavily on corn as a protein source for livestock, but now some farmers are going to have to cut back on how much they use. Gail Martin runs a family farm in Cato. He says farmers can't just charge more at the market to cover their increase in cost.
"Agriculture is one of those where we don't actually set our price. We basically, as our product gets ready, we take it and say, 'What will you give me for my product today?'"
With the short supply of corn, Martin is cutting more hay now to get his livestock through the winter. He says farmers are having to examine all expenses, and cut back in many of those areas.
"He's got to eat that if he's able to, to stay in business. He's going to do some of those things, he might cut back a little bit. My cattle aren't as fat now as they used to be."
Poultry farms are also going to see their costs increase as corn prices continue to rise. About 40 percent of corn grown nationwide goes toward ethanol production. John David Riley is a commodity marketing specialist with the Mississippi State Extension Service. He says since oil is high the demand for ethanol has been growing.
"That's one of the drivers that's led to this tight supply. The fact that so much of our nation's corn is going to ethanol, and that's fueled a little bit of the high prices."
Many products like cereal, soft drinks, and even pharmaceutical drugs use corn for production. If prices continue to climb all of those could see price increases in the future.
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