Drought, Harsh Winters Spike Up Food Prices

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A devastating drought and the harsh winter is costing Americans more at the dinner table. From meat to fruit and vegetables, the cost of food is on the rise.

Grocery stores across the country are hiking up the prices of some major food staples.

In February alone, prices rose .4 percent and by the end of 2014, experts say expect an increase of as much as 3.5 percent.

A severe drought in the Midwest is one of the factors to blame for the price increase, and the beef industry has been hit especially hard.

"Beef supplies are down. We expect beef supplies to be down 6-7% this year. Supplies are down. Prices go up," Dr. Stephen Amosson, a Texas A&M extension economist, said.

In January, the USDA recorded the highest price for a pound of fresh beef since it began tracking this statistic more than 25 years ago.

Then there's produce, higher prices this time of year are normal because of the transition from winter to spring.

The concern is about prices later in the year.

"As the new crops come in the prices are high, but this year we expect them to go higher because some of the crops have been eliminated, mainly because they just won't have enough water," said Peter Carcione of Carcione Fresh Produce Company.  

The unusually cold winter and increases in demand have also contributed to the rising price of food.

"There may be products that are really affected, and other ones that are not, so you'll have to wait and see, and I think people will also adjust what they eat a bit, to what's available," Frank Ballentine, President of Green Leaf Produce, said.

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