Tuesday, May 13, 2008


With costs as high as an elephant's eye, some growers are even cutting back on crops that are in short supply.
By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 13, 2008
All over the world, prices for basic foods -- barley for beer, milk for cheese, corn for tortillas, and the rice that serves as a staple for more than half the world's population -- are soaring. But farmers aren't rushing to cash in on the boom by planting more of the crops.

The amount of corn planted in the U.S. is expected to dip this year. Rice acreage in California, which sells as much as half its crop overseas, is predicted to increase by only a small amount. Instead, farmers are planting cheaper-to-grow wheat and soy.

They say the reason is simple. The cost of planting some crops is rising as fast as their prices, and sometimes faster, leaving little incentive to increase production of some foods that remain in high demand around the world.

Farmers typically plant their crops once a year and not all of them cost the same to produce. Both corn and rice, for example, require more fertilizer to grow and fuel for farmers to tend than other crops. As the prices of those supplies rise faster than the prices of some commodities, farmers are shying away from some expensive crops. .HERE