2012 drought leads to rising food costs - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

2012 drought leads to rising food costs

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Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith said the 2012 drought will have an impact on the price of beef, poultry and pork. You could be paying 3 to 4% more for them this year. Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith said the 2012 drought will have an impact on the price of beef, poultry and pork. You could be paying 3 to 4% more for them this year.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Last year's steaming temperatures and drought mean bad news for consumers this year, that according to agriculture experts.

Scorched crops led not only to a shortage in produce but the cattle that feed on them. That means an anticipated rise in prices from the grocery shelves to your favorite eatery.

Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith said the 2012 drought will have an impact on the price of beef, poultry and pork. You could be paying 3 to 4% more for them this year.

"That drought was worse than anything we've seen since like the early 1950s," said Hyde-Smith.

According to the agriculture researchers, corn prices have increased over $4 in two years.

Corn and soybeans are feed for cattle and used to make other products. They are costs that will be felt at grocery stores and restaurants.

"When your corn prices increase and your soybean prices increase that means your feed stock is definitely going to increase just like catfish farmers right now. Like vegetable oil you know, it's made with soybean oil so you can look for those type things to increase some," predicts Hyde-Smith.

Not only will that mean you'll pay more at the grocery store but when eating out as well.

"It's just another hit to what's historically been a low profit margin business," said Grady Griffin with the Mississippi Restaurant Association.

In this stagnant economy he said increased food costs will make lean times even leaner.

"There's lots of opportunities to deal with these food price increases. It might be changing up menu mixes. It could lower portion sizes. Unfortunately it might mean some continued menu price increases," said Griffin.

The restaurant association's Director of Education said the average Mississippi restaurant brings in $750,000 annually and operates on a 4. 4% profit margin.

"Owners are back running shifts in their restaurants. They've eliminated what they can from staff and they're just as thin as thin possibly can be and further cost increases are gonna affect both profitability and pricing down the road," added Griffin.

Agriculture experts say the 2012 drought killed the hay that fed the animals we eat and while poultry can be grown in seven to eight weeks, it takes a couple of years to rebuild cattle stock.

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