This summer’s record heat and drought has the potential to wipe out three months of decline in global food prices, the United Nations reports. Just two months ago, the U.S. Agriculture Department predicted a record season for corn production, and thus a decline in food prices. But extreme heat has reversed the trend, with the damage sending some international grain prices to 2007-08 levels.
Extreme temperatures have already played a destructive role for crops here in the U.S.:
In its most recent assessment, released Monday, the Department of Agriculture reported that 48 percent of corn crops nationally were in good or excellent condition, a drop from 56 percent of crops a week earlier. In some states, though, the circumstances were far worse. In Indiana, half of corn crops were designated poor or very poor, and in Illinois, among the nation’s top corn producers, only 26 percent of crops were considered good or excellent.
John Hawkins, a spokesman for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said those in the southernmost sections of his state ‘‘are close to or past that point of no return,’’ while in the other sections of the state, ‘‘there’s a lot of praying, it’s hanging on by a thread. These 100-degree temperatures are just sucking the life out of everything.’’
Tens of thousands of daily heat temperatures have been set so far this year, as global warming does its harm on a “regional level or personal level.”