Cold winter may effect food supply

Winter continues to pummel much of the south and east coast meanwhile California continues to deal with drought conditions. Will all of that impact our food supply here in the Midwest?

As of right now prices are a bit higher on certain products but we aren’t seeing many shortages. If the weather doesn’t let up in a few weeks that could change.

There’s no doubt this winter has been colder than normal.

“Certainly it’s been an enduring winter for producers especially those with animals,” Steve Huntzicker, Agriculture Agent with UW-Extension, said.

“Dairy cows especially and all live stock are having to eat more feed just to stay warm,” Bill Brendel, Dean of Industrial Technology at Western Technical College, said.

No state is immune to the freezing temps.

“As some of the weather has extended into the southern states of course fruit production. There’s always concern about food crops the tree crops in particular,” Huntzicker said.

But this is nothing to new to our area.

“I think that weather conditions are something that we deal with every year,” Huntzicker said.

Experts say even though there’s been a bizarre winter. It shouldn’t cause any issues.

“Knowing what I do as far as whats happening in the Midwest, I don’t believe you’re going to see a shortage,” Brendel said.

Grocery stores agree.

“We haven’t seen or heard any more frequency of that this winter then any previous time,” Mike Gates, Store Director for the Village location, said.

Gates said he hasn’t seen any shortages of produce through the winter.

“Maybe a few shipping issues from the South where can’t get out of town because they have ice down there,” Gates said.

Agriculture expert Steve Huntzicker says fortunately for Wisconsin farmers shouldn’t take hit.

“The nice part about agriculture in the state is still there’s a lot of diversity here,” Huntzicker said.

There are still a few question marks when it comes to the spring. A lot of factors go into crops the big one will be how quickly the ground thaws out so farmers can plant their crops. So we’ll have to wait and see.

Experts say that although the weather won’t bring shortages here dairy products could be at the higher prices they are currently at.