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Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 1:39pm

Rain Could Force Food Prices Up

Georgia has seen unusually high rainfall totals this year and that could lead to unusually high food prices later this fall.

According to University of Georgia Agricultural Climatologist Pam Knox, many farmers are behind schedule because of the wet conditions.

“The ground is so saturated that they can’t really drive heavy equipment safely on the muddy ground,” explained Knox.

She said because of the weather, farmers delayed the planting of many crops and have been unable to put down pesticides to protect the ones that are in the ground.

“We’ve seen some issues with insect pests and with some fungal disease because of the high humidity,” Knox noted. “I think another thing that’s really been going on is because it’s been so cloudy, you know, we’re having less photosynthesis than usual. The plants are slower to develop.”
Knox said that will likely increase prices for produce, especially at local markets that are more reliant on locally sourced food.

“What we might expect to see in the fall is if this continues, crops are going to be far enough behind that we might have to worry about impacts of frost or not really being able to develop to their full potential,” explained Knox.

She said meat prices could also push higher. The wet conditions have made it hard to farmers to dry hay, which could force them to buy other food for their livestock.