Drought-like conditions could force higher food prices

Davis, Calif. - The costs of fruits, vegetables and meat could increase if the dry winter season continues, according to some agriculture experts.

Davis farmers said the lack of rain, compounded with the hard freeze that happened at the end of last, year has already increased prices on citrus, including lemons and mandarins.

But they're not the only ones passing on their higher expenses.

Mangers of the Pete's Valley Cattle, just outside of Winters, Calif., said the feed for their cattle is drying up due to the lack of rain, and the cost of hay is very expensive.

"If it cost us more money to supply it, it will cost more money to buy it," rancher Wade Harrison explained.

Harrison said ranchers will be passing those expenses on to consumers. The cost of meat in stores could go up nearly 30 percent if Mother Nature doesn't supply enough water.

Officials with the California Farm Bureau Federation said it's too early to dictate how much prices could increase because there are still several months left that farmers could get substantial rain for their crops.

Officials added if dry conditions continue, consumers could see possible price hikes to fruits and vegetables in six months to a year.


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