Nationwide drought could dry up your wallet

6:25 PM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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The government is calling it a "disaster." Our stretch without rain is turning into the largest drought this country has faced since the 1950's.

While crops across the country are drying up, it could also drain your wallet.

"I think I spent about $10 today for my lunch," says Lynn Watson.

A roast beef sandwich, a bag of Doritos and a soda is a splurge for Lynn Watson's lunch, whose grocery budget of $1,200 a month can't go any higher.

"It would be really bad. I have 10 children, so my food prices are already expensive."

But every item in her bag contains corn as a major ingredient.

The US Department of Agriculture says in the 18 states that produce our corn, only 31 percent of the crops were rated "good" or "excellent," down from 40 percent last week.

And this time last year, 66 percent of corn crops were rated "good" or "excellent."

Soybean crops are in the same trouble. Only 34 percent were rated "good" or "excellent" this week, down again from 40 percent last week and compared to 64 percent last year.

"It will definitely drive the price of everything up," says Vince Bertonaschi, owner of Vince's Meats at the West Side Market.

He says those higher quality cuts of beef depend on corn feed.

"It has to have corn. It has to have corn to help get the marbling."

For his customers, he's been trying to keep prices down.

"As I see my bills increase, I'll have to do what I have to do."


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