Drought driving up food prices now

7:23 PM, Jul 16, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- While you're cool in the produce section at your favorite grocery, some of this year's crops were too hot to ever make it there.

"With the hot weather, no rain came. So certain things we got a shortened season of that we normally have for more weeks at a time," said Garland Griffin, an assistant produce manager at Akron's Mustard Seed Market.

Roll up a cart and you'll find lots of local vegetables, but things like lettuce, even corn this year can be hard to come by.

"Because corn is not growing how it should be, we're feeling an after effect of that," said Griffin.

"We have a very severe situation in Ohio right now. We're several inches, anywhere from seven to 10 inches short of moisture," said Dr. Steven Slack, the director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster.

Slack said nearly all of the state's corn is facing drought and more than 10 percent of the crop has already been lost to the conditions.

"We're looking at a decrease of about 12 percent yield already at this point. So continued high temperatures, continued drought will continue to make that situation worse."

As a major part of the Corn Belt's exports, dry weather in Ohio and other parts of the United States could cause a worldwide price increase.

"It's not just simply a local phenomenon, but this is truly an impact on that world food supply," he said.

In your cart, you'll notice the cost. What little supply is left will drive prices up not just for vegetables, but meat products as well.

"The cascade effect is that it will impact the number of food animals," said Slack.

At Mustard Seed, corn is priced higher than last year, when they have it. They're trying to work with farmers to bring customers any supply that becomes available.

"We're doing the best we can to keep the costs down. But the drought has affected us, and that's really where it has affected us -- is in our costs," said Griffin.

But there are crops that like this heat. Griffin says you will notice an abundance of local tomatoes this year. They love the sun. Items like zucchini and squash are also faring well.


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