Media Relations Specialist
Media Alert: Aug. 9, 2012
Attention: Food Retail, Energy Industry Reporters/Editors
Smith Experts Comment on Effects of U.S. Drought on Food,
Despite early August rainfall, about two-thirds of the United States – mostly
across the Midwest and in the South – has endured what climatologists have
described as this country’s most severe drought in more than 50 years. Robert H.
Smith School of Business faculty experts are available to comment on the
implications for food and energy consumption.
The Smith School has an in-house facility for live or taped interviews via
fiber-optic line for television or multimedia content.
Jie Zhang, associate professor of marketing and the Harvey Sanders Fellow of
Retail Management, can discuss drought implications for the retail grocery
“Consumers are likely to see price increases of fresh produce soon, as the
persistent heat and dry spell drive up the costs of production. But the more
profound and widespread impact is through chain reactions in the supply chain
due to rising prices of commodity crops, especially corn,” she says. “Rising
costs of corn can lead to price hikes in a wide range of grocery products, from
eggs, dairy, poultry, beef, to packaged foods such as snacks and cereals. These
effects can take many months to show up. One thing is for sure, consumers will
feel the pinch when paying their grocery bills.”
Zhang teaches retail management and has published research in marketing and
management journals such as Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing
Research, and Management Science. Contact her at 301-405-7899 or
About half of U.S. water consumption is applied to cooling power plants,
while millions of gallons per day support oil/gas production. Related water
scarcity threatens blackouts during peak usage periods of summer and can
increase electricity rates and fuel prices. Charles Olson, professor of the
practice in the Department of Logistics, Business and Public Policy, can comment
further. He specializes in the economics and strategy behind the energy industry
and has testified in several hundred utility cases in 50 jurisdictions. In this
regard, he has consulted for more than 100 utilities as well as industrial
companies, state agencies, trade associations and environmental groups.
Contact Olson at 301-405-8666 or
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University
of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and
part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs,
as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree,
custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.