If you think the cost of food is going up you would be absolutely correct. The Associated Press reported that food prices rose 3.9 percent last month, the most since November 1974. Most of the increase was because harsh winter freezes in Florida, Texas and other Southern states damaged crops.
At the same time, global prices for corn, wheat, soybeans, coffee and other commodities have risen sharply in the past year. That's raised the price of animal feed, which has pushed up the cost of eggs, ground beef and milk.
I hear the grumbling and moaning in the grocery store line. Everybody is complaining, and these numbers bear out what we, the shopping public, already knew, the price of groceries is "through the roof."
This past Friday, recently elected Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black made a quick stop in Statesboro. At the impromptu gathering hosted by Raybon Anderson, Black spoke about efficiencies and changes he was making in the department, as well as some of the challenges that he is facing.
I asked Black about the price of food, particularly since agriculture is such a large part of Georgia's economy. Black said the price of food is commodity driven, and the price of commodities such as corn and wheat remains very high.
That isn't news to local businessman Russell Rosengart, owner of 15 Sonic Drive-in restaurants across southeast Georgia.
"For the last year, Sonic has really worked to improve the quality of the food which has driven up our costs, and we haven't raised prices to offset it," Rosengart said. "I think it has been a very good thing, but now we are being hit with higher food costs on top of that. Just look at what the price of wheat has done to cost of a loaf of bread. You can imagine how we are being impacted."
Rosengart said that he believes the price of some of his menu items will have to go up, probably in May. "Frankly, I just don't see any way around it, particularly in light of higher fuel costs which impact the cost of goods delivered to us," he said. "I feel like we are getting hit on all sides."
Is there any good news here? Yes, Americans spend a much smaller portion of their budgets on food - about 14 percent - compared with 40 percent to 50 percent in developing countries, and we here in Bulloch County have excellent local crops from which to choose.
I can't wait for summer. Maybe the heat will bring some relief - in the cost of food, that is. You better believe, I will be shopping local.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org