Fallout from the crisis in Libya and the Middle East could put pressure on U.S. agricultural production due to escalating fuel costs, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

“Libya has the largest crude oil reserves in Africa, and it’s a flash point,” says Parr Rosson, AgriLife Extension economist and director of the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M University. “The concerning thing is what it’s going to do at a time when we’ve gone through a couple of years where (crude) prices have been relatively stable. This could put some real economic pressure on costs in agriculture.”

If sustained, higher petroleum prices would result in higher agricultural commodity prices as well, Rosson said. That would be passed on to the consumer resulting in higher food prices.

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