Next time you're picking over the fruits and vegetables at the market you'll be able to explain rising greengrocer prices to the buyer standing next to you. The reason: rising energy costs.
Prices of crops from farm states relying heavily on crop irrigation or sprinkling have been significantly boosted by stiff energy-price increases.
In Western and Sunbelt states, irrigation requires heavy-duty, electrically operated pumps. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) economists at the University of California at Davis point out that since 1971, energy prices have increased five-fold. And these energy costs, about 15 percent of crop production and processing costs, are passed along to consumers.