Grocery bills higher now because of the last year's drought

BUCYRUS, Kan. - Have you noticed your food bill is eating away more and more of the money in your wallet lately?

Ranchers blame the jump in the cost of food on last year's devastating drought in the Midwest.

Last year, during the scorching hot summer drought, the sun burned up cattle country's feed. According to farmers like Bucyrus cattle rancher Greg Foote, the unrelenting temperatures left smaller supplies of hay, dense grasses and corn.

That meant the price for feed doubled.

"Gotta have corn to feed these cattle," Foote said."We had really low supplies on corn."

During the drought, ranchers like Foote paid a high price to keep their herd. Many others sold off their cows, pushing the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest point since the 1950's.

The combination of high prices and low cattle supply started driving meat prices up this summer and will for many more months to historic highs.
             
"The drought has caused our prices to go up," Foote explained. "There's still supply and demand though, so it's still high because people are eating it."

Ranchers admit the higher prices could last into next year, because it takes a while to build up a new herd. But Foote sees a silver lining in re-growing his herd.

"Here's the beauty, we had to sell off the ones that weren't our highest quality cows, the older ones," he said. "We'll have a really young herd so future's bright."

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