WASHINGTON, D.C.(WTVB) - The Secretary of Agriculture is predicting only a "marginal" impact on food prices from a drought that has dried up much of the nation. On CNN's "State of Union," Tom Vilsack also said the drought should not have an immediate effect on food prices, saying "if folks are using this opportunity to raise prices inappropriately, shame on them." He expects food prices to increase marginally next year as a result. He also says the more important factor in food prices is actually energy costs. Vilsack is pushing Congress to approve a new farm bill by the end of September. Last week, the Department of Agriculture released some alarming statistics about the drought in theUS. One-thousand counties in 26 states have been declared natural disaster areas. Sixty-one percent of the land in the lower 48 states is in drought condition, which includes most of the southwest,Texas and its surrounding states, as well as the deep south. "Clearly our yields are going to be down," Vilsack said when asked about current crops. He says there's no issue with food supply or meeting exports.
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