Farmers try to strike price balance as food costs rise - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Farmers try to strike price balance as food costs rise

(NBC) - The recession is affecting just about everyone in some way, but until now, inflation has been modest.

Economists say that is starting to change and higher prices are hitting a lot of people in a way that's hard to avoid. The cost of food is going up.

Farmer Jerry Rutiz has kept most of his prices the same over the past couple of years, but lately he's raised the prices of his broccoli and Brussels sprouts to keep pace with the rising cost to grow them.

He's careful not to make the prices too high.

"At some point we'll raise the price and then people will say, 'I really don't need that. You know, I'm not going to pay five bucks a pound for broccoli,'" he said.

It's a balancing act for all farmers as food prices rise.

According to the Department of Agriculture, overall food prices increased only 0.8 percent from 2009 to 2010.

This year, they're expected to got up 2 to 3 percent.

Fresh fruit prices went up 4 percent in December, driven by rising fuel and labor costs.

Farmers admit resisting price increases might get tough this year if the economy continues to improve and costs continue to go up.

Beef prices are up 6 percent year to year, as are egg prices.

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