Idaho farmers seeing higher prices due to drought elsewhere

Idaho farmers seeing higher prices due to drought elsewhere

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 5:24 PM

BOISE -- A new report shows much of the nation facing a severe drought that shows no signs of letting up.

According to that report, more than 63 percent of the continental U.S. is in some stage of drought.

Illinois is one of the hardest hit states, with more than 70 percent of its land in exceptional or extreme drought.

But Idaho is one state not experiencing this problem.

While many American farms are hurting, farmers here stand to make more money.

"A little more than half of all rural counties in the United States are experiencing drought conditions," said Jake Putnam with the Farm Bureau in Idaho.

Putnam says it's a much different story here in the Gem State.

"One of the things that we have here that they don't have back East is irrigation. Irrigation is saving us. We can control how much water we put on our crops," said Putnam.

The drought will significantly hurt crop yields in other states, driving up market prices. Soybeans are at a record price and corn is now selling for about 50 percent more than what it was a month ago. That will help the bottom line of Idaho farmers as they sell solid yields for high prices.

"Farm economics can be a very cruel creature," said Putnam.  "No farmer in Idaho likes to see market prices off the sweat of their neighbors, but that's exactly what's going to happen."

Agriculture helps drive Idaho's economy, so that's good news for the whole state. But there's also bad news. A new government report predicts that the market spikes will trickle down to grocery stores next year. The Department of Agriculture says that food will cost 3 to 4 percent more in 2013, with beef leading the way at a potential 4 to 5 percent increase.

That increase in beef costs actually comes from the price of corn going up.  If you have to pay more to feed cattle, they're going to cost more.

The Department of Agriculture says that the price of chicken may also go up, around 4 percent, as early as this fall.

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