US farmers asked for federal help yesterday in stemming a tide that has seen speculators hitting grocery stores and consumers hoarding basic foodstuffs, the Washington Times reports. "The public is all too aware of the recent credit crisis on Wall Street," a farmers-union rep said. "We don't want a lack of oversight and regulation to lead to a similar crisis in rural America."
Though farmers have mostly benefited from rising prices, they worry that severe increases will hit their operating costs, or burst the bubble. Food prices are rising thanks to a perfect storm of speculation, high energy costs and increased biofuel production, which has driven up the price of corn while decreasing the amount of land devoted to food crops.