The Main Stream

Jul 10, 2012 9:14 PM

Nation's drought could raise produce prices

ARIVACA - The nation's hot, dry conditions are starting to take a toll with the Midwest getting the worst of it.

With conditions as bad as they are in the Midwest, you would think they would be even worse here, because it's so much hotter. But local farmers say that's not the case. In fact, some say it's been a good year.

To the average grower, the desert can make things tough.

Barbara Casmir is interested in growing her own vegetables. She said, "We're trying to grow a garden, and I've been really kind of frustrated because of the fact that I've had to water twice a day to make sure that the produce is at least looking alive."

But the professionals are used to it, and come prepared with things like shade domes and a special kind of irrigation.

John Rueb is with Forever Yong Farms in Arivaca. He said, "We're always looking to conserve our most precious resource so we use 100% drip irrigation on this farm. We only put water down to the roots of the plants and we're not growing weeds by flood irrigating and wasting water that way."

But they haven't had to use it as much recently, because ironically it's the desert getting the rain.

Rueb said, "We have had a surprising amount of rain. So far in the monsoon season we've had rain 9 out of the last 12 days here."

However, in the Midwest, it's a very different story. There is widespread damage, so bad that even though things are looking good here locally, it's likely going to bump up prices.

John Abbott is the General Manager of Rincon Market. He said, "I don't think the Midwest really affects us a whole lot yet, but it could get there. If their conditions stay the way they are they could start buying out of our areas. That will create shortages here and that will create price increases."

And price isn't the only thing affected.

Abbott said, "Quality is a little bit down this year so far. A little less than what we're normally used to."

Yet some farmers said what they're normally used to could be a thing of the past.

Rueb said, "I think in the future there will be more and more episodes of drought and heat to deal with and I think the long term prognosis for food prices is up."

At this point we don't know how much prices will go up because of the nation's drought. A lot of it depends on how the crops turn out in the end and if Mother Nature ever helps out. For that we'll just have to wait and see.

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