NEW PRAGUE, Minn. (WCCO) — Get ready to pay more for groceries and the government says blame it on the hot weather.

A USDA report on Wednesday said everything from steak to milk to egg prices will go up 3 to 5 percent by the end of the year because of drought conditions in much of the country.

Dairy products could be the first place you will feel the pinch.

At Cedar Summit Farm in New Prague, Minn., waiting out this year’s heat and humidity is like waiting for the cows to come home.

“It affects our bottom line, obviously,” farmer Dave Minar said. “We have less milk to sell, less milk to bottle.”

That’s because as temperatures go up, the amount of milk the cows make goes down.

The heat can also bring out more bugs, which also affects milk production.

“It irritates the cow and she uses up energy trying to ward off the flies,” Minar said.

He said his cows have made about 10 percent less milk this month.

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association says most others in the state are reporting a loss — anywhere from 5 to 20 percent.

And Minnesota isn’t the only state suffering.

The biggest milk producing states — Wisconsin, Idaho and California — are all in a drought. They’re reporting slower milk production and expensive feed costs, which is bad news to some consumers.

“I have a kid who drinks so much milk I can’t keep track anyway,” said shopper Carrie Daklin.

WCCO stopped by a few stores tonight, and a gallon of milk ranged anywhere from $2.99 to $3.89 a gallon.

And that’s actually a little bit lower than what we were paying last summer.

Farmers say it’s due to the mild winter.


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