Drought conditions could raise your grocery bill

STUART, Fla. - Your weekly grocery bill could soon rise, in part because of drought conditions.

This week, the Department of Agriculture dropped the U.S. corn yield, so that's affecting local shoppers' food budgets.

Consumers looking to budget their grocery bills could soon feel a pinch at the register.

Single mom Celia Harris said she's a savvy shopper, and she's learning even more tricks to lower her expenses.

"I buy in bulk," said Harris. "I'm trying to coupon, I'm not good at it yet, but I'm trying."

Harris said since the birth of her son, she's had to change her shopping habits.

"Before, it's like, I get whatever I want. Now, I have him, so I have to pre-portion and be limited in what I buy," she explains.

Kevin Petrovsky is an Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at Northwood University.

He said Harris could soon have to change her habits again, if she wants to keep grocery costs low.

Petrovsky said Midwest corn crops have been seared by high temperatures and low rainfall, so that means Florida shoppers could soon pay more for items containing corn.

"When corn production drops, it affects our entire food supply. These more extremes of droughts, longer lasting droughts, more storm events are now going to become our norm because of our changing climate," said Petrovsky.

Petrovsky said every processed food you eat has some corn product in it, and you can even find corn in products like baby diapers, and what fuels your car.

"The ethanol that we're putting in our gasoline that's supposed to make us more efficient and help us address climate change is corn-based."

But Harris said she is optimistic that prices will remain steady,  and, if not, she'll keep her coupons handy.

"It'll be like the price of gas. Everything will even out in the end."

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