U.S. Drought a Boon for Foreign Farmers.

Jul 20, 2012

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Farmers are benefiting from the drought strangling U.S. corn and soybean crops.

Not U.S. farmers, of course. Farmers in foreign nations with burgeoning agricultural sectors could see massive bumps in their profits this year, as prices for major crops rise to record highs.

"If we're producing 40 percent of the global corn production ... and we're seeing a significant downturn in output this year in corn production, that does send strong upward price shocks to corn around the world. And as far as producers that are able to produce in terms of those grains, that can be good news," says Bruce Johnson, professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In the U.S., corn prices have hit record highs, with corn for September delivery surging past eight dollars per bushel. Soybean prices have also skyrocketed, with August soybeans over $17 per bushel. Those are remarkable leaps—at the beginning of June, that corn sold for just over five dollars per bushel, and soybeans just over $13. And with grain markets that span the globe, that means higher prices in countries where a drought isn't taking a bite out of corn output.

High prices and a bumper corn crop are likely to boost India's corn exports to record levels this year, as Reuters reported Thursday. Record soybean crops are expected in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

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