I (like most women) do all the grocery shopping for my family, so I have first-hand knowledge of the rise in food prices. Women be warned, things will probably get worse: Earlier this month, the USDA projected the 2011 corn harvest will be even smaller than previously expected, causing corn futures to soar.
The basic principles of supply and demand are in part to blame: If demand for a good remains the same (or increases), and supply is reduced, prices will rise. In addition to being a staple for humans, corn is a chief component of livestock feed. So we can expect these higher corn prices to push grocery prices higher , and not just for corn-based food like fresh corn and corn meal. Dairy products, meats, and foods containing high fructose corn syrup will be more expensive to produce, and producers will pass along some of these increased costs to consumers via higher prices or smaller product sizes.
What caused the reduction in corn supply? First and foremost, crop prices are affected by the weather. Good weather and bumper crops bring lower prices; droughts and floods bring higher prices. Wet weather and flooding in the Midwest affected this year’s planting season, and thus farmers planted fewer acres of corn.
But the corn supply was tight and prices rising before the bad weather struck, thanks to the federal government’s corn ethanol polices. Around 40 percent of the nation’s corn harvest goes to ethanol production. That means that the supply of corn available for food was already relatively small even before bad weather affected planting......
In the United States, ethanol is mostly made from yellow corn, and as the market boomed for alternative fuel, yellow corn went up in price. Many farmers saw the potential to make more money, and switched from white corn to yellow corn. White corn is the main ingredient of tortillas in Mexico, and as the supply dropped, the price doubled, making the base of most Mexican foods unaffordable. Many people[who?] see this as unacceptable, and want no overlap between food crops and fuel crops. Others[who?] point out that the earth is thought to be able to support double the current human population, and press that the resources available, such as unused farmable land, should be better handled.
Abiogenic petroleum origin is a discredited hypothesis that was proposed as an alternative to theory of biological petroleum origin. It was relatively popular in the past, but it went largely forgotten at the end of the 20th century after it failed to predict the location of new wells.
The abiogenic hypothesis argues that petroleum was formed from deep carbon deposits, perhaps dating to the formation of the Earth. Supporters of the abiogenic hypothesis suggest that a great deal more petroleum exists on Earth than commonly thought, and that petroleum may originate from carbon-bearing fluids that migrate upward from the mantle. The presence of methane on Saturn's moon Titan and in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is cited as proof of the formation of hydrocarbons without biology.