US drought could hit tailgaters hard

Drought farm tractor

While many of us have been caught up in complaining about the summer heat, seeing gas prices rise, watching the 30th Summer Olympics in London and catching the mud slinging political attack ads between Obama and Romney, unless you are a farmer you may not know we are experiencing one of the most severe droughts in United States history.

Financial Times: US drought threatens food price surge

The drought is considered the worst the United States has faced in a half century and the federal government is estimating that close to 12,000 square miles of farm land has been abandoned by farmers after the lack of water has caused irreparable damage to the crops. 12,000 square miles is roughly the size of the state of Maryland.

How is this going to affect you, the tailgater? Simple. Expect to pay higher prices for the foods you plan to bring to your parking lot party.

The crops most heavily damaged by the drought have been corn and soy beans. You’re probably thinking, “I don’t eat corn on the cob and who eats soy beans?”. You may not be a big consumer of corn and soy beans but farm animals love them.

If the cost to feed those chickens, pigs and cattle goes up, guess who will eventually get nailed with the price increase? That’s right, you the consumer.

Consider this. Corn is one of the most versatile foods out there used in almost everything that we eat. The obvious ones would be those tortilla and corn chips we love to serve while out tailgating but corn is also a big part of processing foods. Go through your kitchen pantry and read the ingredients labels on any box, bottle or can. More than likely corn is an ingredient in whatever you pick up.

So what’s a tailgater to do? One thing you can do is try and stock up now before the residual affect of the drought has not hit the prices in the grocery stores and warehouse stores. If you have the means, (and the storage/freezer space) we would suggest loading up on those items you know you will be wanting to have while tailgating. Bacon, ground beef, hot dogs, etc. will all be seeing price increases and more than likely those prices will leap right around the middle of football season. Prime tailgating season indeed.

Another suggestion is to buy a number of bags of chips knowing that the expiration date will probably be a few months from now and they will not go bad if unopened before the end of football season. If you have the freezer space, stock up on beef, pork and poultry and freeze them now. With a little bit of planning you can try to avoid the higher food prices that will assuredly be coming.

If you don’t have the storage space or the financial wherewithal to buy all your tailgating foods up front, start clipping coupons and be on the look out for sales and specials at the grocery stores.

Most people do not like surprises, especially surprises that hit you in the wallet. But if you are prepared now for a price increase that is almost as sure as death and taxes, you can make the proper preparations so it won’t hurt as bad when it really hits.