Dry Weather Could Mean Higher Prices on Some Grocery Items

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Dry conditions in Florida are changing the prices of some produce and meat in grocery stores.

Because the grass is drying up, cattle farmers are spending money to feed their cattle in other ways – with pricey supplemental food.

“A significant amount of cow-calf operations are absolutely grass-dependent – in some cases even 100 percent grass dependent,” said Dr. Roy Beckford from the University of Florida’s IFAS campus in Lee County.

Famers are feeling the effects in Southwest Florida, where dry conditions have sparked fires in recent weeks. Lee County, for example, is primarily a cow-calf operation – which means cattle are raised and then sold for beef.

“The gains are going to be diminished or the prices are going to have to increase,” said Beckford.

However, farmers are also experiencing an increase of tomatoes, as some farmers say conditions are ideal for growing crops. In some cases, too good as it’s pushing prices for tomatoes down.

While some ranchers are holding out hope for more rain, tomato farmers believe this season has gone just right.

“Sometimes, these farmers are going to have to – in cases like this, they’re going to have to absorb those costs which is not good,” said Beckford.