This Summer’s heat wave across the U.S is becoming another chapter on the effects of global warming on this planet.  In addition to the usual reports of deaths attributed to the heat, the USDA has declared this year’s corn crop to be a disaster, with over half of US corn-growing counties to be officially declared disaster zones. http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-01/us/us_us-usda-disaster-zones_1_crop-food-prices-massive-drought

The shortage of US corn has massive global implications.  The World food supply is strongly influenced by corn, and the US is by far the number one world producer of corn, as much as China, Brazil and the Eu-27 combined. http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?commodity=corn&graph=production

Beyond the price of an ear of corn, this shortage is going to affect everything that uses corn for development.  Beef, Pork and Chicken are all raised on a diet that carries significant corn.  Globally, prices of meats are forecast to increase to the point where emerging markets won’t be able to afford them.  Ethanol research and production also puts pressure on corn stock, which could be a factor in rising fuel costs.

As I’m writing this, the temperature outside is a cool 10 degrees Celsius (that’s 50 degrees Fahrenheit), with a light cool rain falling.  A welcome respite from the hot summer we’ve had in Western Canada.  Most people that you talk to have been extremely happy with the Summer we’ve had; long stretches of dry hot weather that has made opportunity for some excellent outdoor activities.

In short, the summer that has been a killer in the US has been a wonderful summer in Western Canada.  We’ve had a nice mixture of rain and sun, and enough warm temperatures to grow good corn – had we had the foresight to plant it.  Canada is a top producer of the world’s canola.  Therefore, even if we don’t have corn this summer, at least we will have the margarine to put on it!

The opportunity with global warming lies in the far north.  Fertile soil in the Yukon and Alaska is dirt cheap (pardon the pun) because currently they can only count on a 60-day growing season.  Once that hits 75 days, there will be a new Canola belt.  By that time, we in Western Canada can count on enough heat to grow corn.  Maybe the mainland US can expand cotton, oranges, grapefruit – what the heck, let’s add pineapples and bananas to that list.  Either way, farmland in Alaska and the Yukon is a good long-term investment.  In that sense both Americans and Canadians have equal opportunity to cash in on Global warming.

Pass the corn.  And the margarine.