Drought Blamed For Upcoming Spike In Grocery Bills

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Monday, July 23, 2012

What optimism there was in Kansas agriculture with the spring rains has dried up as a second year of extreme drought threatens farmers' livelihoods and food prices for everyone.

Experts say the extreme weather will likely push up food costs starting later this year. Farmers showing livestock at the Reno County Fair in Hutchinson say that only stands to reason because the drought is so widespread.

"This time it's effecting more than corn. And it being a direct commodity used by humans, not just livestock, you're going to directly effect food prices altogether," said farmer John McCurry.

Watershed ponds are drying up across the state. Kansas State University watershed specialist Ron Graber says the blue-green algae currently plaguing some farm ponds resulted in the deaths of cattle in Marion County last month.

"Our pastures were suffering a year ago, and our water sources, but we're even worse off now and it's going to have a long term affect," said farmer James Schlickau.

Farmers tell KAKE News some producers will sell cattle early because dry pasture land can no longer support grazing.

"I'm worried, as a cattle producer, that meat is going to be so high that when it does come back down, we'll have lost market share because people aren't going to be able to afford it," said farmer Stacey Krebiel.

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