Updated 07/16/2012 07:16 PM
Dry weather around country could have impact here
This weekend, we saw some rain move into the area. But future forecasts call for more sunshine and heat, which could be devastating for some local farmers. But as our Beth Croughan found out, the drought conditions plaguing other parts of the country could also have an impact on people here in the Capital Region.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- It's been hot and dry. But this weekend, there was a glimpse of relief. The Albany area received about two inches of much needed rain.
"Certainly the rain over the weekend helped, but farmers would like to see more of that," said Steve Ammerman, the spokesperson for the New York Farm Bureau.
Ammerman said the current conditions are causing some concerns, especially for the hay and corn crop.
"Some of the leaves on the corn are starting to curl. Starting to yellow a bit. And if we don't get more prolonged rain in the near future, that could be harmful as the corn continues to grow," he said of the corn crop.
But it's in the country's corn belt, the Midwest, where Ammerman said the corn crop is being devastated. Almost a third of the nation's corn is showing signs of damage, during what the USDA calls the worst drought since the late eighties.
"Certainly what's happening across the country will be felt in New York State," said Ammerman.
What will be felt is a lighter wallet. A lower supply, Ammerman said, impacts many of the products on our store shelves. Meaning, the more corn costs, the more consumers will pay. According to the USDA, food prices will increase one percent for every 50 percent increase to corn.
"Typically, you won't see higher prices from anywhere six months to maybe a year down the road," Ammerman said.
Keeping costs low is a priority for Michael Ryan, the owner of Ryan's Farmers Market. But he said on top of having to look at prices, the dry weather is forcing farmers he works with to put in more work.
"They have to spend maybe another 15 to 20 percent of their time just moving the irrigation pipe to make sure that the corn doesn't get dried out, the birds don't get to it and it's fresh going to market, especially here," said Ryan.
But even irrigation isn't as good as what Mother Nature can supply.