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Global prices for food and crops in much of the world are at multi-year highs and there’s a culprit far larger than human commerce: La Nina.

This year, the weather pattern has already made its mark in North and South America as well as Australia and Indonesia. Characterized by the cooling of the equatorial Pacific, La Nina triggers atmospheric gyrations that cause water scarcity in some places and floods in others. And the prospect of drought across the U.S. — and difficult weather just about everywhere else — is roiling commodities markets. Combined with falling yields and growing demand from China, the result is soaring food prices and fears of inflation among world governments.

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