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"Jeff Helms, Publications Director"
334 613-4212

MONTGOMERY Extreme dry weather that slashed farmers' yields during July and August has not affected grocery prices as shoppers continue to enjoy savings on meat, poultry and vegetables. This month, Alabama shoppers paid about 1 percent less at the checkout than in August, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey. The survey, conducted Aug. 30 through Sept. 3, showed the average cost of 20 market basket items was $35.34, down 33 cents from last month.

Football tailgaters should pay less for their fried chicken this month as poultry prices fell 4.3 percent. Chicken breast sold for $1.85 a pound, down 7 cents from August, while fryers were slightly cheaper at 82 cents a pound. Pork prices also were lower for the second straight month with pork chops selling for $2.79 a pound, down 7 cents. Beef prices were unchanged in September as big savings on T- bone steaks were offset by higher roast prices.

On Alabama's fruit and vegetable farms, drip irrigation is lessening the effects of the drought while keeping supermarket shelves lined with a steady supply of late-summer and fall produce. In September, produce prices retreated 2.4 percent after edging higher in August. Lettuce and sweet potatoes were the best buys while tomatoes were higher at $1.07 a pound.

In the dairy case, savings on butter, ice cream and cottage cheese led a 1 percent decline in prices, despite milk being 7 cents higher at $1.77 for a half gallon. Meanwhile, eggs averaged 83 cents a dozen, down 8 cents from August.

Regional reports from around the state show the September market basket total averaged $35.15 in central Alabama, $34.93 in northwest Alabama, $35.37 in south Alabama and $36.21 in northeast Alabama.

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