MARIETTA - Seems like everyone is buzzing about the drought this year - deemed the worst in five decades.
Even though the National Weather Service in Charleston recently reported that most of southeast Ohio is only in a moderate drought condition, some business owners in the Mid-Ohio Valley are feeling the drought's effects in their bottom lines.
"(The drought has) definitely impacted my business," said Kurt Morgenstern, owner and operator of Castle Care Lawn Services in Marietta.
Photo by Sharon Bopp
Richard Morris of Boaz, 59, stocks up on groceries at Marietta’s Food 4 Less. Prices of chicken, beef and pork are expected to rise in coming months because of the nation’s drought conditions.
"I'm home right now," he said. "Usually I'd be out."
For Casey Cook, owner of Casey's Landscape & Contracting in Parkersburg, the mowing part of his business has dropped.
"It got dry there for a good month," said Cook. "Our revenue has been cut in half on mowing."
There's Corn In This?
Corn, in one form or another, is an ingredient in many of the items purchased at local grocers, pharmacies and big-box home improvement stores. In fact, three-fourths of all grocery products list corn or food ingredients made from corn in their nutrition facts:
*?Lipstick and other cosmetics
*?Instant coffee and tea
*?Paint and varnish
Fortunately, Cook's company had already branched out into hardscaping and has done tree removal after the recent storm.
Aside from business owners seeing an immediate impact of the drought, residents may also feel some pain in their pocketbooks over food prices for months to come.
"Our customers are not worried now," said Mike Morrison, store manager at Warren's IGA in Marietta. "We will hear from them when they actually see prices increase."
According to Bucky Lee, co-owner of Marietta's Food 4 Less, the price increases could still be months away.
"What we've heard mostly is what we've all seen on TV concerning the corn crop in the middle of the country, and what it's going to do to cereal prices, poultry and beef," he said.
Lee said he expects no higher prices "before late this year, maybe going into November, December or the first of next year."
"I would guess three to four months down the road," he said.
"Poultry, dairy and eggs will be the fastest affected," said Matt Roberts, agriculture economist for Ohio State University Extension in Columbus.
"I would expect we could start seeing (price increases) any time, up to the next three months," he noted.
According to Roberts, price increases could be 20 to 30 percent.
"It will likely be a significant increase throughout 2013," said Roberts.
According to Roberts, prices could start to fall next summer, with the right conditions.
"If the weather goes well, planting goes well and everything goes right, we could start to see prices fall dramatically," he said.
Roberts said he does not believe food prices will drop until the beginning of harvest 2013.
"I think the wise shopper is going to stock up," Lee said.