From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Americans should brace for higher food prices this year now that demand for corn has pushed U.S. supplies to their lowest point in 15 years.

Higher projected orders from the ethanol industry sent corn futures soaring Wednesday, as corn supplies became the latest commodity to plummet. Low levels of wheat, coffee, soybeans and other food staples have already sent prices surging on the global market.

As those reserves decline, U.S. food companies are warning of retail price increases.

The ethanol industry's projected corn orders this year have risen 8 percent, to 13 billion bushels, after record-high production in December and January, the Agriculture Department said Wednesday.

That means the United States will have a reserve of 675 million bushels left over in late August when this year's harvest begins.

Higher food prices ahead after corn reserves sink