Drought Causing Higher Food Prices? | VideoAmy Fox | 1/29/2013
As you head to the check-out lane with a cart full of meat and produce, you may not pay much attention to prices. But, come this spring, and you may pay closer attention.
"Consumers have seen some food inflation over the past several years. Part of that is the expanded use of corn into ethanol in a rising corn market. Then, you put a drought on it. Now, we anticipate some continued inflation in food prices," said NDSU Area Extension Specialist John Dhuyvetter.
With damaged soil and land, farmers are struggling to replenish their resources, which is making it harder for grocery stores to stock certain items.
"Quantities are less,” said Marketplace Foods Manager Jeff Berg. “And, when that happens, our costs do go up. But, we`re reacting to whatever happens with the market ups or downs."
One of the feed stocks suffering from the drought is cattle.
As Dhuyvetter explains, "Some particular products, like beef, in which we`ve dropped the number of cattle on account of low feed and high costs, feed, will probably reflect a push in price. And, in some of those products, that means higher prices in the coming year.”
Farmers aren`t only worried about the price of beef, grains are also at the top of their list.
"With the number of acres that are going up and the way farming technology is capitalizing, we`ll probably produce a lot of grains,” said Dhuyvetter. “Certainly, grain prices are going to react and come down."
But, as Berg explains, food prices all hinge on one thing: the weather. "If we have heavy rains early on and no rain the last few months, so it`s all depending on the weather and how that actual product is harvested and what’s available at harvest time."
Farmers and shoppers alike can only hope Mother Nature cooperates this spring to keep costs down.
Dhuyvetter says if we have another dry spring and summer, it could take farmers several years to fully recover from the drought.