Farmers in the Midwest have more than doubled their profits since 2005 by selling grains like corn and soybeans, thanks to the country’s biofuel craze.
But Northeast farmers, who primarily raise livestock, have ended up on the wrong side of the tipping scale.
The agricultural shift is having a direct impact at New York City’s Greenmarkets, where farmers are struggling to keep prices down as their fuel and feed costs skyrocket.
Many blame high food prices in the U.S. on the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which called for the amount of biofuels produced in the country to almost double in six years.
The price of corn, the main ingredient of ethanol, soared. Wheat and soybean farmers devoted some of their acreage to corn. In response, the price for those crops also rose.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybeans prices have more than doubled, and corn and wheat prices have tripled.
At the same time, gasoline and diesel fuel prices have risen by about 30% and 50%, respectively, since 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Meanwhile, farmers at the Union Square Greenmarket are holding their breath – and trying to hold their prices steady.