Crop problems globally could raise food prices here

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Robert Wang

How much you spend on groceries and clothing this year may depend on how good the weather is around the world.

Due to droughts, floods and excessive rain in several countries, farmers are straining to meet the growing worldwide demand for grain and other commodities that are key ingredients in food products.

Commodity prices are approaching or have surpassed the high of 2008. If there’s a repeat of disappointing crop yields this year, consumers likely are to experience supermarket sticker shock.

“What you’ve had is basically a series of less than optimal production. It’s not one country. It’s not one crop,” said Carl Zulauf, an agriculture economics professor at Ohio State University. “We will need reasonably good weather across the Northern Hemisphere this summer in order for prices to decline.”

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