http://www.usatoday.com/weather/dro...rought-affects-food-prices-economy/56716506/1 Drought forces farmers to sell livestock; feed is too costly By Judy Keen, USA TODAY Updated 5d 7h ago CHICAGO – Some farmers are selling off their livestock herds because they can't afford to buy feed, marking a new level of fallout from the drought that will affect consumers and possibly the entire U.S. economy. The cost of meat at the grocery likely will drop as farmers liquidate cattle and pigs in the next few weeks, but higher pork prices and even shortages could follow in "as soon as six months," says Mike Platt, executive director of the Indiana Pork Producers. "We're going to see a very tight market" for beef "around the Christmas holidays and into January," says Joe Moore, executive vice president of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association. MORE: Drought intensifies in Plains When that happens, small meatpacking plants might be forced to reduce shifts or lay off workers just as consumers tighten their budgets after a summer of high air-conditioning bills, says Chris Lehner, a Kansas City, Mo., commodities broker. "We could see it affecting the whole economy," he says.