Rain, flooding cause higher food costs

June 18, 2008 5:17:30 AM PDT
The price of corn has jumped more than 80-percent in the last year and it's not likely to fall any time soon. This spring's heavy rainfall is causing problems for many farmers.

A wet spring in Illinois and flooding across the Midwest will mean less corn in this year's crop. And shoppers will pay more at the grocery store.

"When the price of corn goes up, the price of meat goes up because cattle are primarily fed on corn. Also the price of milk goes up because cows are fed corn as well," said Vic Lespinasse, commodity trader.

Much of that corn is grown in McLean County, Illinois. That's where Jim Rafferty farms 1,600 acres -- most of it corn. But the frequent rains have upset his planting schedule.

"About every third day, just before we would dry out and be able to get back in the field it would rain again, put us out for another three or four days, frustrating," said Jim Rafferty, McLean County farmer.

Last year's harvest produced 200 bushels of corn per acre. But with large chunks of farm fields still trying to dry out, this year the numbers will be much lower.

"Some of the corn I had to replant like I did yesterday, that's going to struggle to make 120 or 30," said McLean.

Just over 40 percent of the nation's corn crop is rated at good to very poor. That means lower yields and higher prices.


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