Peanut Shortage Raises Peanut Butter Prices

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Another hot, dry summer in key peanut producing states has significantly shrunk the nation's peanut crop this year.

That means peanut butter lovers should get set to shell out a little more at their local grocery store.

"It's been a tough season, it sure has," said Rodney Dawson, a farmer in Hawkinsville, Ga.

The tight supply means consumers will soon pay more for yet another common grocery staple.

U.S. farmers are expected to produce roughly 1.8 million tons of peanuts this year, down nearly 13 percent from last year, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Department of Agriculture.

If that estimate holds, it would be the smallest harvest recorded since 2006.

Peanut butter producers already have plans to hike prices for peanut butter significantly in the next few weeks.

The J.M. Smucker Co., which makes Jif peanut butter, plans to raise its wholesale prices 30 percent in November.

Kraft Foods Co., which launched its Planters peanut butter in June, is raising prices 40 percent on Oct. 31.

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