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Smith Experts Comment on Effects of U.S. Drought on Food, Energy Industries

Aug 09, 2012
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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.

Food Chain

Jie Zhang, associate professor of marketing and the Harvey Sanders Fellow of Retail Management, can discuss drought implications for the retail grocery industry.

“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 jiejie@rhsmith.umd.edu

Energy

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 colson@rhsmith.umd.edu 

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.

About the University of Maryland's 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, online MBA, specialty master's, 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.