Notice anything different about your morning cup of coffee? If you’ve been awake and paying attention, you would have realized that you’ve also been paying more.

The reason for the increase in price has much to do with a fungus that’s been infecting Arabica coffee beans. An orange-colored rust called roya (coffee rust) is highly contagious, and while it affects different varieties, it has already caused more than $1 billion in damage across the Latin American region. The result? Rising coffee costs in the high-end specialty coffee that we drink.

I may be a LONGHORN, but right now, I am a HUGE fan of Texas A&M. To be precise – I love Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research for partnering with the Global Development Alliance to eradicate this devastating disease that has devastated the region since 2012.

Because the real problem isn’t rising coffee costs.

The main concern is for the economic security of the small farms abroad. If farmers lose their jobs, it increases hunger and poverty in the region and contributes to violence and drug trafficking. Washington estimates that production could be down anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent in coming years, and that those losses could mean as many as 500,000 people could lose their jobs. 

“The fungus is among us.” So pull out your wallets and get ready to pay more for the coffee that come from those small, high altitude farms in Central America.