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Heat Affecting Food Costs

By Rob Scott

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — The extreme heat across the country is affecting crops and is expected to have a ripple affect on your grocery bill. That trend, however, will not be limited to fruits and vegetables.

Southern Oregon’s wet spring has delayed the harvesting of corn at Seven Oaks Farm, but in many other parts of the county, extreme heat has left corn crops damaged, forcing the price of corn to increase 30-cents in the past month alone.

Seven Oaks Farm is preparing to harvest their corn next week, a full three weeks later than usual. Doreen Bradshaw says Southern Oregon’s wet and cold spring is to blame. Farms around the country are struggling to keep corn production up this year, but for a very different reason; extreme heat and droughts have driven the price of corn up and have created a domino effect.

With corn being a key ingredient in cattle feed, the price of your next t-bone could surprise you. Corn is a key ingredient in cattle feed and co-owner of The Butcher Shop in Eagle Point, Cameron Callahan, has seen the ripple even effect the price of local grass fed beef.

“A shortage of cattle is causing even the grass fed beef to go up in price,” Callahan says.

Callahan says it’s just a simple case of supply and demand.
“The farmer is getting more money on the market if he ships his cattle, so we have to match that price or else the cattle get shipped to another state, ” Callahan explains.

For now, Callahan says he has found ways around increasing prices, despite earning smaller profits.

“We break everything down and cut it ourselves, so that really has helped combat the prices for us,” he says.

It may be a delayed start, but Bradshaw thinks the quality will be as good as ever.

“It looks like we’re going to have very good corn when it finally gets ripe!” exclaims Bradshaw.

The corn grown at Seven Oaks Farm is only grown to be eaten as yellow corn, none of their harvest goes toward production of other products like cattle feed.

Local butchers say the increase in beef prices has made seafood more popular. Officials say that summer barbecues as well as the nation’s drought has caused prices to increase in steaks and other middle meat cuts. They say seafood hasn’t dropped in price, but with prices closer to that of beef, prices of fish seem more affordable.