Corn prices surge as supplies plummet  If you want to know why your corn tortilla costs so much more this year than it did in 2010, look no further than domestic corn supplies.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released data on U.S. corn supplies, projecting inventories on September 1 will total 675 million bushels - a marked fall from the 1.708 billion bushels that were stockpiled a year prior. Corn futures have more than doubled over the past 12 months as surging global demand has eroded global stockpiles.

The supply issues plaguing the corn industry are cause for concern, warned Northstar Commodity Investments Co market analyst Christian Mayer. "It gets kind of scary, from the standpoint of how tight the supply currently is," Mayer told Bloomberg. "Something has got to change. Either end-users have to slow down on demand, or use something else" as a substitute.

Surging food prices caused riots throughout the globe in 2008. This year, the rising costs of foods like corn and wheat helped fuel protests that ultimately toppled governments in Egypt and Tunisia; moreover, people participating in the wave of political uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa have called for cheaper food sources.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, totaling $66.7 billion in 2010. 
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