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Fears about rising food prices and global food shortages are mounting as the American Midwest faces the worst drought in the region in more than half a century, with no hope of relief in the forecast.
"We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” one agronomist told Reuters. More than half of the continental United States has been affected by drought, the worst since 1956, which has left the nation's corn and soybean crops parched.
The impact of the heatwave and drought scorching the country’s agricultural center is already seen in the quality of the corn crop. The USDA rated just 31 percent of crops this week as good or excellent, down from 66 percent at the same time last year, and price of a bushel of corn has doubled to $7.72, according to the Washington Post.
Crop losses in the Midwest could result in food shortages worldwide, as the U.S. is a leading exporter of grain, and could cut back on how much food aid the superpower can offer to international regions in need. The rough growing summer will also hit grocery stores, with the rising cost of corn expected to drive up meat prices in particular. Corn products—like ethanol, corn syrup, and corn meal—may also see a spike going into 2013, CNN reports. The increase will likely be slight, but will hit low income Americans hardest.