No discussion of climate policy—yet the drought may not be entirely irrelevant for the upcoming presidential election. Several years ago, Christopher Achen and I examined the impact of droughts and floods in presidential elections throughout the 20th century. We found a surprisingly strong and clear tendency for voters to punish the president’s party when their states were too wet or too dry. In the 2000 election (the most recent in our data), we estimated that Al Gore got about 2.8 million fewer votes than he would have under ideal climatic conditions.
Interesting, though Presidents will atypically take rightly or wrongly, the blame for most dire events beyond their control?
it's part of the way the american public puts presidents up on a pedestal. we want them to be everything at all times. if they fail at any of those roles, the punishment for that failure is meted out at the ballot box.
That's true. The Tea Partiers got their people elected because as the conventional wisdom puts it " They wanted it more." That and a big dump-load of confidential monies.
July 25, 2012
U.S. Sees Food Prices Rising From Severe Drought
By RON NIXON
WASHINGTON — The worst drought in the United States in nearly a half-century is expected to drive up the price of milk, beef and pork next year, the government said Wednesday, as consumers bear some of the brunt of the sweltering heat that is driving up the cost of feed corn.
Poultry prices are expected to rise more immediately, the government said in a report. It estimated that consumer price indexes for chicken and turkey would rise 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent later this year.
“The poultry category is the smallest animal category, and we expect to see more of an effect this year because they grow the fastest and will be first to be impacted by higher feed prices,” said Richard Volpe, an economist with the Department of Agriculture.
Figures released Wednesday by the department showed the largest percentage increase next year in its price indexes is expected for beef, a rise of 4 percent to 5 percent. The price of dairy products will increase 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent and eggs by 3 percent to 4 percent. Pork is expected to rise 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.
The data is the first government estimate of how much prices could rise next year because of the drought that has gripped most of the country this summer, producing a lower-than-expected yield in corn, soybeans and several other commodity crops.
Corn is now selling at about $8 a bushel — up 50 percent from where it was priced at just a month ago. Soybeans are at a record price of almost $17 a bushel, up from $13, just two months ago. Food prices over all rise about 1 percent for every 50 percent increase in corn prices, because corn is used in dozens of products, according to the Agriculture Department. Corn can be found in everything from soft drinks to baby food, but nearly half of the crop is used to feed livestock.
“These are very corn-intensive operations,” said Bruce A. Babcock, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University, referring to raising livestock. “So customers will see an increase in the prices they pay for beef and dairy as the price of feed rises because of a drop in production.”
According to the government, 88 percent of the corn crop this year is now affected by the drought and 77 percent of the crop for soybeans, used in animal feed and some dairy alternatives, is affected.
The Agriculture Department slashed its estimate for what was supposed to be the largest corn harvest on record. The government cut its corn yield forecast to 146 bushels an acre for the year, the lowest corn yield since 2003; the outlook last month was for 166 bushels. The soybean yield is projected to be 40 bushels per acre, down from an estimate of 43.9 last month.
The most recent crop progress report shows that just 26 percent of the nation’s corn crop is rated either in good or excellent condition. About 45 percent of the crop is rated very poor or poor.
Soybean conditions remain slightly better. About 31 percent of the soybean crop is rated good to excellent, while 35 percent is rated very poor or poor.
Because of the dry weather, cattle farmers in a number of states have already started selling off or culling cattle because the drought has ruined grass for grazing and the price for corn for feed has skyrocketed.
Daniel R. Glickman, the agriculture secretary for former President Clinton, said that as farmers started culling or selling their herds, meat prices could fall because of a glut of beef on the market. “So in the short term, that’s good for customers,” Mr. Glickman said.
But the prices of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and dairy are expected to rise significantly later in the year, most likely around November, agriculture economists say.
Ken Colombini, a spokesman for the National Corn Growers Association, a Washington trade group, said that not all of the rise in food prices could be attributed to a rise in corn prices. “A drop in corn production is a factor, but animals are under other stresses related to the drought as well,” Mr. Colombini said.
Ray Gilmer, a spokesman for the United Fresh Produce Association, said fruit and vegetable producers, for the most part, were not being 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,” Mr. Gilmer said.
Despite the drought, many agriculture economists expect the farm economy to remain strong, mainly because most farmers participate in the federal crop insurance program.
Under the program farmers can obtain policies that cover drops in prices or yields.
In 2011, 265.7 million acres of crops were insured, with payouts of $10.8 billion because of weather related damage in Texas, Kansas and a few other states.
For a few lucky farmers, there could be an upside to the drought, Mr. Babcock said. “By collecting insurance but selling the remaining crops at the now-record prices, they could see a larger increase in revenue then they did last year,” he said.
Why is there no discussion of cloud seeding programs? I know the "make it rain" headline is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but the technology has been around for 50 years.
you have to have the right type of clouds for cloud seeding to work.
how financially feasible is it for small farmers?
Fair enough... so *none* of these types of clouds are any good?
We can spend over $20trillion to bail out Obama's corporate masters, but we're concerned about "financial feasibility" in regards to our food supply?
A sign of the times: people.tribe.net/frozensta...0ec86ecc18
i'm asking a fucking question. if you don't want to answer it, then don't. christ.
To answer your question: probably not very. However, the point is that this is the kind of real economic "national security threat" to which federal efforts should be directed, and could be addressed with relatively minimal cost when compared to some of the subsidy vehicles that are generally distributed by the government.
Apparently mosquitoes are the real "national security threat," since the Air Force is happy to use a C-130 cruising at 150 feet to spray Dibrom all over the residents of Florida (not the only state, just the most recent).
DANGER! POISON! CORROSIVE! An off-white to straw yellow liquid with
a sharp, pungent odor that causes irreversible eye and skin damage. May be
fatal if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin and eyes. Is a
cholinesterase inhibitor. Rapidly absorbed through skin. Repeated inhalation
or skin contact may, without symptoms, progressively increase susceptibility
to organophosphate (including Naled) poisoning. May be an aspiration
hazard. May cause an allergic reaction.
PRODUCT is combustible.
TOXIC to fish, birds, and other wildlife.
KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN!
(but don't worry, they say the amount is relatively "minute")
When it finally does rain you can be sure he'll try to take credit for it.
Just like his imaginary millions of jobs and his "Hey, it could'a been worse" nonsense.
If it doesn't he'll just blame bush.