Grocery prices may go up due to drought


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The drought is also a huge issue for our farmers. They’re working with less water which is costing them more to raise livestock and grow crops.

That means you could potentially pay more at the supermarket soon.

Living in the Bay Area, we are so close to many farms and are lucky to have access to fresh, local products on our store shelves.

Recently it was wildfires, then COVID, now our farmers are putting up with some of the worst drought conditions in decades, and problems in the field may mean more money out of your pocket when shopping.

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau estimates they have about 6,000 farms large and small who are responsible for forty different types of products – from wine grapes to other fruits, eggs, meat, and dairy which is having a tough time because of little to no rainfall.

The owner of DeBernardi Dairy, which has been around since 1976, says he hasn’t anything as bad as this in 40 years.

They’re having a hard time finding truck drivers to haul up 30,000 gallons of water all day long while other farmers aren’t even planting this year.

“Our dairies I think right now have probably been the most challenged especially our dairies in southern Sonoma County around Petaluma, Two Rock area, already starting to haul water for their cattle, and cows drink about 40 gallons of water a day each. Some of the dairymen are selling off cattle just so that they have less cattle to worry about from the standpoint of watering, and then the big important thing is Sonoma County is known for having so many organic dairies and the requirement of being an organic dairy is cattle have to graze pasture,” Tawny Tesconi, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, said. 

She says overall there will be fewer crops produced so shoppers will see less variety of fruits or vegetables at the store and a spike in prices of between 5 to 12 cents per pound in some products.

That won’t happen immediately but as the challenges in supply get worse this can happen heading into the hotter months.

Farmer DeBernardi says he’d like to see some help from the county further down the line by possibly subsidizing some of the water needing to be hauled.

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