(CBS) Inflation continues to make it more expensive to visit the grocery store. Now extreme weather is making some food even more expensive. Last year’s hurricanes led to a shortage of oranges in Florida and that’s making orange juice pricier. Besides the bad weather, Florida growers are also dealing with a crop disease called citrus greening.
“The trees have started dropping fruit prematurely, and the quality of the juice is starting to decline.” farmer John Barden told us earlier this year.
Florida is far from alone. Strong rains in India damaged sugar cane crops in that country, sending sugar futures soaring. And floods earlier this year in California devastated all kinds of crops, from lettuce to strawberries. That’s expected to push up the prices for produce.
“I think this is the unfortunate, harsh reality of today’s world. Climate change is really impacting us. And so, the unfortunate thing with food is that we always have to eat, so that demand is always going to be there. And so, when you have these extreme weather events, it’s really difficult for farmers to be able to harvest and plant, and when they need to. So, this is the new norm. This is what we’re going to see in the in the future.,” says Professor Patrick Penfield, a supply chain expert at Syracuse University.
Penfield believes extreme weather will continue to play a role in crop production and can affect all parts of the food supply chain. He says drought in the Midwest led to fewer crops, raising feed costs for ranchers and now many are raising fewer cattle.
“Meat prices are going to go up, and that’s just because there’s less cattle,” Penfield says.
However, extreme weather may have provided one benefit. All the rain in California that damaged crops also helped fill the state’s reservoirs that have been running low after years of drought. “And now the farmers in the next planting season will be able to tap that water,” Penfield says.
And that should help farmers produce more crops and bring produce prices back down later this year.