By Amanda Hill

For months now, we at Texas Farm Bureau have been anticipating a rise in food prices as the epic drought of 2011—which lasted, in some areas, through 2012 and into 2013—caused crops to wither and cattle herds to shrink. Texans’ food costs actually declined for a few quarters, but it seems the drought has finally caught up to prices at the grocery store.

According to the first quarter Grocery Price Watch survey, Texas food prices are up about 5.5 percent over last quarter and a little more than 3 percent from this time last year. Here’s a look at the 16-item basket of food staples:

Texas Farm Bureau Grocery Price Watch 2013

I can relate to this basket of items. In fact, it represents a lot of the regular staples I buy each week—fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, milk and cheese and meat. Of course, there are other items that find their way into my basket, but this is pretty close to what you might see me buy each week.

Grocery prices are top-of-mind for many of us and an increase can be hard to swallow. There’s a lot that affects the fluctuation of food prices—weather events in the field, fuel prices, marketing costs and more.

My belief is there is tremendous value in the food we buy. Each week, I have choices at the grocery store and can decide what fits within my budget—all because American farmers and ranchers took risks to grow healthy food in the most efficient way possible. That keeps costs down. And, if a product is too expensive for my budget that week, I can opt for a less expensive alternative.

How do you keep costs down at the grocery store? Have you adjusted to higher food prices? Leave a comment below. We want to hear from you!