Grocery prices set to soar amid drought conditions

Monday, July 30, 2012 - 9:07am

Nearly 60 percent of the United States faces drought conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means farmers across the country are working twice as hard to produce sustainable crops. Sometimes, though, their efforts don't pan out. "The midwest, where mostly corn is grown, is under a drought, about 14,000 counties in 29 states," said Chuck Griffin, DeSoto Parish Extension Agent.

A shortage of that crop can have far-reaching effects. "You go to your gorcery store, almost everything has some corn in it, whether it's corn flakes or the soda that you drink, or just corn oil," said Griffin. However, it's not just those products that could see price hikes. Corn is a staple feed for most livestock, from beef cattle to pigs and chickens. The U.S.D.A. estimates prices could jump 5 percent in the next 5 months, as ranchers struggle to keep up with demand.

If there's a bright spot, though, it's for Louisiana corn farmers, who are reporting fairly good crops this year, according to Griffin. A shortage in other places will drive up the demand for their products. The downside? You'll probably see the increase yourself, when it comes to your grocery bill.

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