Extreme heat and widespread drought could have an impact on food prices

POSTED: Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 2:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 2:04pm

It is still early in the season, but for most of the nation it's already been a long, hot summer.

A severe drought is taking its toll on more than half the country, crippling farmers and ranchers.

Now consumers are beginning to feel the effects of the dry conditions as well.

About a third of the nation's corn crops are in poor to very poor condition, driving market prices up to $7 dollars a bushel, more than double the normal price.

That cost increase is sure to put the heat on consumers.

Corn is a staple used in everything from cereal and sweeteners to ethanol in gasoline.

Pasture land is also parched.

With nowhere for herds to graze ranchers have been forced to sell off their cattle, a move that could push beef prices up at least 10-percent and could be even more costly for those who make their living from the land.

"If no significant rain comes I'll just have to go out of business. I just don't have any grass and won't be able to afford hay prices," says rancher Karen Haralson.

Another high price of the suffocating drought.

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