Food Prices Higher Even Though Drought Has Eased Slightly

By: Cheryl Lemke Email
By: Cheryl Lemke Email

Walk over to the faucet, turn it on and we get a glass of water when we want it. When we talk about the continuing drought you might think it’s just a problem for farmers, but that’s not the case.

Walking down the grocery store aisle our bill can add up quickly. “Everything has been a lot higher priced this last year and I think that's all related to the drought,” says Wohlner's owner Mike Schwartz. The drought is impacting prices from fresh produce to canned items, even bread and cereal.

Schwartz says it's supply and demand. “If you think about things we grow like corn it goes into many of our everyday products and can impact price. It feeds our livestock, it goes into sweetener in our cereal, it's even used for ethanol.”

Schwartz says last August was when prices really took a hit. We can all hope that if and when rain does fall, so too will food prices.

Where's the drought headed? Even though we've had timely rain, about 10 inches of precipitation, forecast models only predict a 50-50 chance of normal rain through July. The rain we have received has improved our drought classification from extreme to moderate.

With that in mind, Nebraska state climatologist Al Dutcher says he's cautiously optimistic about the upcoming growing season, but warns the next few months will be critical.

Although it appears as though we've had some good rain, it may be misleading. We may not know the full extent of the damage done to our plants for the next few weeks. The drought may have weakened a root system to the point where a strong wind or thunderstorm could topple a tree.

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