Midwest drought could send Pine Belt grocery prices higher - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Midwest drought could send Pine Belt grocery prices higher

The drought going on right now in the country's Midwest could affect your grocery bill this time next year.

While it's been plenty wet in the Pine Belt lately, in America's Breadbasket - which is a key corn-producing region - it's been too hot and too dry. If they don't improve soon, the conditions will likely lead to a crop shortage of soybeans and, even more of a threat, a shortage of corn.

Local USDA Farm Service Agency Director Ken Barrow says staple crop shortages can set off a potent chain reaction and spike prices for all sorts of foods.

"It can have far effects on beef prices, on chicken prices," said Barrow of the corn shortage, which is a key ingredient in livestock feed. "Corn is one of the staples. Corn and soybeans are two of the staple crops - and wheat - are the staples crops that everything, everybody, has some dependence upon."

If the drought continues through the coming weeks, prices for everything from cereal to soft drinks to beef could spike. It wouldn't be immediate, but this time next year those numbers may be poised to shoot up.

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