Will Hurricane Irene Raise Food Prices and Concerns?

By admin | September 1, 2011

Photo: Felicity Atkin

Hurricane Irene has made its mark on farmlands across the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. and farmers are constantly tacking up the damage done. USDA’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, explored areas hit by Hurricane Irene this past Tuesday.

Within New York and Vermont, dairy farmers felt the pressure of Irene as gallons of milk were dumped because tanker trucks couldn’t make their rounds. As found in Patrick Jonsoon’s piece “Hurricane Irene adds to US Farm Woes. Will it Raise Food Prices?”, Dean Norton, a Genesee County, New York dairy famer, believes “this is a unique situation we are facing” as food prices could rise because of the storm’s damage. Prices of milk may rise and if so, many may take a step away from having a nice tall glass of milk everyday.

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler told reporters, “Crop-wise, this is a very tough time of year to have something like this happen. There are going to be some crops that are a total loss in some areas.” Crop losses are still being tallied up to decipher how much of a loss has occurred because of Hurricane Irene.

With much crop damage through the Eastern Seaboard states are marking up which crops are destroyed. In New England and mid-Atlantic the corn crop damage was widespread. In New Jersey blueberry bushes have been hit hard. The Hudson Valley estimated a 10% loss of apples, while North Carolina’s tobacco and soybean crop loss is unknown. Needless to say there are a variety of crops that are being damaged because of Hurricane Irene.

Tom Vilsack is awe struck, “I’ve not seen the kind of flooding and damage to crops that I saw briefly today. And if this is representative of what North Carolina has suffered, it’s a fairly significant blow.” With substantial damage to crops many continue to wonder if the US will be hit with food inflation. Many hope the answer to that question is no as according to the Consumer Price Index food inflation is slated to hit 4.5% this year.

Photo: flick.a

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