ST. LOUIS – David Nicklaus of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote today about the specter of high prices at the grocery store down the road as an aftershock of this summer’s drought. Well after the summer is over, and even if the heat breaks and rains come, consumers could be paying higher meat, dairy and grain products.
The nation’s corn crop has already taken a hit during an important pollination and growth stage for corn plants, so much of the damage has already been done. Just how high prices go depends on the weather for the rest of the growing season.
As Nicklaus reports:
Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri, thinks the sticker shock may happen quickly. “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if higher grain prices were already being priced into things that are made directly from grain, like flour,” he said.
The price of chicken also could rise pretty quickly. Beef prices may be slower to react, but they also may stay high for longer as ranchers reduce the size of their herds.
“What’s happening now will affect beef prices for a couple of years to come,” Westhoff says.