ST. LOUIS (AP) — U.S. food prices are expected to stay high through 2012 because a wet spring will likely cut the size of this fall's corn harvest.
The United States will have a surplus of just 695 million bushels of corn next year, less than the 900 million estimated last month.
The Agriculture Department says rain delayed planting schedules and will likely diminish crops by harvest time in September. This followed a more optimistic forecast in May, which predicted a drop in corn exports that could have replenished U.S. food supplies and eased prices.
More expensive grain has led to food price increases this year. Manufacturers and grocery stores have passed higher costs on to consumers. For all of 2011, the USDA predicts food prices will rise 3 percent to 4 percent.