Drought Increasing Food Prices

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RENO, Nv - California's drought will soon have a very real effect on your wallet. Experts say the lack of water means meat, produce and milk prices will rise significantly.

At the Blue Ribbon Butcher shop in Sparks, there is worry the drought in California is going to drive up beef prices.

"The last few months the prices have gone up a little bit. Not much," said Steve Cartinella, Manager at Blue Ribbon Meats.

Expect the effect to grow more dramatic as we grow closer to summer.

"It's all a rollover thing. Whatever happens now is going to have an effect on us in about two months," said Cartinella.

"The drought is going to impact production not only of crops, but of livestock and dairy as well, and as we impact those at the producer level as well, we have higher prices that we are going to see that are going to hit at the retail level as well," said Mike Helmar, Agriculture Research Analyst with the University of Nevada, Reno.

Current estimates suggest beef prices will go up about 15%. Produce will possibly go up more depending on variety.

"We're not necessarily sure at this point how much it is going to effect things, but the concerns are certainly there," said Chris Mills, Director of Sales at Bonanza Produce.

Mills says right now some California farmers aren't even sure they'll plant.

"At this point the farmers don't even know necessarily don't even know how much water they are going to have or if they are going to have any," said Mills.

So there will be a lesser supply of meat, produce, and anything else on store shelves. But the demand will remain the same, leading to higher prices.

"But they are going to see an inch up in that grocery receipt that they saw in the past couple of years," said Helmar.

Experts say expect to pay an extra 10 to 15 bucks for every $100 spent at the check-out.