As Midwest Struggles With Drought Food Prices Increase TOP STORY: CORN PRICES EXPLODE AS DROUGHT DEEPENS – WP’s Peter Whoriskey and Michael A. Fletcher: “A drought gripping the Corn Belt and more than half the United States has reached proportions not seen in more than 50 years … jacking up crop prices and threatening to drive up the cost of food. Though agriculture is a small part of the U.S. economy, the shortfall comes as the nation struggles to regain its economic footing. … About 55 percent of the continental United States is now designated as in moderate drought or worse, the largest percentage since December 1956 … Corn is among the most valuable of U.S. crops, and its price has multiple economic ripple effects, reaching into food and energy markets … Over the past two months, the price of a bushel of corn has risen more than 50 percent to $7.72”