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Severe drought in northeast Alabama, Madison County, could affect food prices down the road

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. -- Parts of northeast Alabama and Madison County are impacted by a severe drought, and officials say it could impact some food prices later on.

Even with small amounts of scattered rain here or there, there is still an impending drought in some areas of the Tennessee Valley. DeKalb County is one of those areas, as a scorching sun bears down on fields. Agriculture is the top industry in the county. "DeKalb County, along with a number of others including parts of Madison County, Jackson County, Cherokee County, all the way down to Randolph County, have been declared a disaster area by the Secretary of Agriculture," DeKalb County EMA director Anthony Clifton says.

Clifton says this drought could have an impact on the consumer as well as the farmer.

EMA officials call this situation a cascading effect. In DeKalb County, agriculture, poultry, and cattle are top economic drivers. As this drought affects those, the entire region could be affected. "What that means for us, all of us, is that we can see an increase in food prices come winter," Clifton explains, "As agriculture moves, so do food prices,"

Clifton says there is a direct relation that the drought could affect. "If we don't make a good corn crop, that means corn prices will rise, which means feed prices will rise, which means food prices will rise," Clifton says, "When winter gets here, you're going to see a rise in beef prices, a rise in chicken prices, and that's going to affect all of us."

EMA officials say conditions could continue until September or October.

DeKalb County officials say as of right now, there isn't a concern with a water shortage in that area. However, anyone living where the conditions are dry is strongly encouraged to not burn anything outside.