The exposed bottom of the Mississippi River near St. Louis, July 17, 2012. (Robert Ray/AP)
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned Wednesday that the worst drought in 25 years would drive food prices up later this year and said the situation was bad enough to make him wish for divine intervention. He also warned consumers to be on the watch for food price gouging.
"I get on my knees every day, and I'm saying an extra prayer now," Vilsack told reporters during a rare appearance in the White House briefing room. "If I had a rain prayer, or rain dance, I could do, I would do it."
"But honestly right now the focus needs to be on working with Congress" to craft an aid package in some form for hard-hit farmers and livestock producers facing the prospects of failed crops and higher feed costs, he said. Vilsack did not put a price tag on such legislation, saying the full extent of the damage was not yet clear.Read More »from Ag Sec Vilsack wishes for ‘rain prayer’ to combat painful drought