According to Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, its high costs of energy which will most likely fuel an upward surge in the price of groceries in the coming months, and not the drought which has more than half the country feeling hot and dry.
Vilsack made his pronouncement during an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley this past Sunday on “State of the Union.” Crowley tried to get Vilsack to connect the lack of rain in 26 of the nation’s states with a rise in the cost of certain food items. But Vilsack was adamant that there is no connection.
“The prices and the impact of a drought will not likely be seen in the grocery aisles until later next year, 2013. If folks are using this opportunity to raise prices inappropriately, shame on them. It takes a long time for the prices to basically work itself through the system,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack then changed gears and moved on to praise President Obama’s energy policies. He said that Obama has placed investments in renewable energy sources at the center of his struggle to bring the economy back on track. Unfortunately, according to Vilsack, a non-ending litany of criticism from the Republican camp over environmental regulations that they say will slow down growth in the development of new fossil fuel sources has made it difficult to get the results from the policies which the Obama administration would like to see.
“Fourteen cents of every food dollar that goes through a grocery store goes in the pocket of a farmer or rancher,” Vilsack added. “So while these commodity prices will likely increase, it will have a marginal impact on food prices. What really drives food prices more significantly are energy costs.”