Delayed Crops Could Mean Higher Food Prices

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Rainy weather and cooler temperatures this spring are making life tough for farmers across the country, with many forced to delay planting crops.

"There are a lot of fields that are really super wet right now with all the rain and more on the way," Wisconsin farmer Mark Zastrow said.

Zastrow's farm fields are on top of a hill, so they are not as likely to have standing water. But like many farmers across the country, he still faces difficulties from a wet, chilly spring.

"So far this year everybody's been behind just due to the weather," he said. "And every time it rains you just get farther behind." That includes delays in plowing fields, planting crops and harvesting early spring hay.

One of Zastrow's hay fields is nowhere near ready to be cut. That's bad news for his livestock which used to eat that hay.

"A lot of farmers were out of hay, so they've been buying a lot waiting for the crop to grow, so it couldn't have been any worse," Zastrow said.
    
Crops that farmers have been able to plant are emerging slowly.

The latest crop report from Wisconsin's Agriculture Department shows so far only 2 percent of farmers report their first alfalfa cutting this year, compared to 59 percent last year.
    
Some of the other crops across the country battling rainy, cool conditions include Arkansas's rice crop, Washington state's cherry crop, North Carolina's peanut crop, and corn and soybean crops across the Midwest.

Farmers hope dry, sunny weather is around the corner to jump start the growing season.

Even though the weather in some areas may be beautiful, this cool, soggy spring affects all of the U.S. Rising feed costs and lower crop yields could potentially cause consumers to pay more at the grocery store.

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