Richard Sokulsky, deputy agricultural commissioner for Los Angeles County, explains why a lack of rainfall could soon dry up American’s wallets. Lolita Lopez reports from Arcadia for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 18, 2012.
The lack of rainfall has created dry conditions across the United States and that could soon dry up American’s wallets.
The number of corn crops is estimated to be 12 percent less than expected for 2012 because of the nation's worst drought in more than two decades. That shortage could affect the price of a multitude of foods – including tortilla chips, BBQ sauce, sodas containing high fructose corn syrup and medicines, like DayQuil, that use corn starch.
“It’s even used to producer ethanol, which is a fuel in California," said Richard Sokulsky, deputy agricultural commissioner for Los Angeles County.
Several California counties are facing drought conditions, including San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
However, the problem is not as severe in California because it is a highly diversified crop state, Sokulsky said.
In many areas, farmers do not rely solely on rain fall as a water source. For example, the Antelope Valley depends on well and aqueduct water.
According to California’s Department of Water Resources, reservoir levels in the state are sufficient, partially due to above-average snowfall and precipitation last winter and spring.
Still, a lack of rain nationwide has led to short pasture for cows and ranchers are sending their stock to the butcher sooner. That has reportedly led to a decrease in the price of beef in the short term. If the drought continues, your next steak dinner at home or at a restaurant may be more expensive.
“That's going to most likely happen because if they not able to graze their cattle in the areas where the droughts are occurring the feed from their area, they are going to have to seek feed from outside their areas,” Sokulsky said.