A COLD SNAP IN CALIFORNIA AND ARIZONA AFFECTED CROPS IN THE NATION'S "SALAD BOWL".
ROMAINE LETTUCE PRICES HAVE NEARLY TRIPLED, BROCCOLI PRICES ARE UP NEARLY THREE-HUNDRED PERCENT, AND SPINACH PRICES ARE UP 150 PERCENT.
AN INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE REPORTS THERE COULD BE "CRITICAL" SHORTAGES OF SOME VEGETABLES OVER THE NEXT MONTH BEFORE THINGS SETTLE DOWN.
AND THE VEGGIES WHICH DO MAKE IT TO GROCERY STORES MAY NOT LOOK AS GOOD AS WE'RE USED TO.
FROM ONE SIDE OF YOUR PLATE TO ANTOHER...RANCHERS ARE RAISING FEWER CATTLE AND THAT'S THE TREND FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU ... AND WHAT DOES THAT DO TO PRICES FOR BOTH THE RANCHER AND THOSE BUYING BEEF IN THE STORE.
BEATRIZ REYNA REPORTS.
THE DROUGHT IS TAKING A TOLL ON NEBRASKA'S PASTURES AND THOSE THAT FEED AND RELY ON THEM.
Matt Stockton , UNL WREC Ag Economist
"The year before we were dealing with a lot of rain so there was a lot of dry forage. Last year there wasn't a lot of rain so the cattle ate up a lot of that forage so there isn't a whole lot of forage out there right now."
THE PROBLEM ISN'T JUST GETTING THROUGH THIS SEASON, BUT PREPARING FOR WHAT'S TO COME.
"There has been a lot of corn that's been chopped, that didn't make it and its being used for feed. There are a lot of cattlemen out there that are foraging on fields that grew corn but when the spring time comes all of that is mostly going to be gone and the hay will be gone so it will be back to the range but if it doesn't rain then we are going to have a problem because we are not going to have enough rain and if we don't have rain we won't have enough forage and if don't have enough forage then we will have to do something with them and this is the concern."
IT'S PREDICTED COMMERCIAL BEEF CATTLE SLAUGHTER THIS YEAR COULD LAG BETWEEN FOUR AND SIX PERCENT BEHIND LAST YEAR'S NUMBERS.
"The cattle numbers are short but it's not the percent or the decline that is the problem. What the problem is the fact is that beef itself will become more expensive."
BUT JUST HOW MUCH IS STILL LEFT TO BE SEEN.
"These changes in the grocery store while they will concern and upset us probably are not going to affect us that much because we have a lot more income and are able to afford some of these things and so yeah it is going to hurt and you are going to have to take it out of your budget but I don't think you are going to cut back on the food that you eat."
So you think we will be ok?
Oh yeah, we're going to be ok. The thing is in a time when food is short then there is an overproduction and food left usually afterwards."