Beef prices soar as cattle herds dwindle
Grocery stores and fast-food chains worry that costs will keep climbing.
The beef is disappearing.
Americans are eating less beef, and the size of the cattle herd has fallen to its smallest since 1952. Beef prices are rising, and fast-food chains and other companies are worried about increasing materials costs.
Beef consumption has fallen for six years straight, Bloomberg reports. There are a number of reasons, including the "pink slime" controversy over treated meat. Americans are also more concerned about their health. And beef has become very expensive -- ground beef hit an average of $3.02 a pound in March, the highest since 1984.
The Livestock Marketing Information Center predicts record beef prices this year, Bloomberg reports. We could see those higher costs at stores and at restaurants.
The main reason beef prices are climbing is that there are fewer cows -- only 90.77 million head at the beginning of this year, a decline of 2.1% from the year before, Bloomberg reports. Drought across America has forced farmers to keep herds low.
Don't expect many changes, either. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts beef stocks to decline further in 2013, though beef imports may rise slightly to help meet the shortage.
These higher prices are weighing heavily on the minds of executives at fast-food companies and grocery stores. Costco (COST) said it's dealing with rising beef prices this year, Bloomberg reports. Wendy's (WEN) and McDonald's (MCD) are feeling the pain as well.
The result? America will continue to move away from beef to pork, chicken and other options. Prices are simply getting too high. A juicy steak will become an indulgence, a treat that we can't afford too often. Tofu, anyone?
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The ignorance about the food supply that is shown in the posts here is stunning. The problem with the beef supply has nothing to do with Obama, big corporations or the EPA. The problem comes from the last couple of years' drought in Texas, Oklahoma and parts of Kansas, a problem that is going to affect Colorado and some of the other beef-producing western states this year. Last year was so bad in the south that hay (winter feed for cattle) quadrupled in price in some places and there was no pasture, so many producers were forced to liquidate their herds or let them starve to death. This not only affects the current supply, but has a knock-on affect for years to come, as it takes time to re-build herds - cows only have 1 calf per year, so it takes a number of years to replace lost cows.
I wish more people would become truely educated on where their food comes from, beyond the grocery store, and realise that most people involved in feeding this country, and the rest of the world, are hard-working, God-fearing folk who are at the mercy of the weather, the economy and many other factors beyond their control. You should be thanking them for the food they put on your tables...
Makes total sense. If demand is down, and herd sizes are down, shouldn't the price stay the same?
There's always a foggy explanation as to why the consumer gets the shaft, let's hear it.
Lots of clueless people.
Beef in this country eat corn. Animal feed USED to be the number 1 use of corn (and a top use of soy and several other feeds) in the U.S.
Bush's promise in his 2006 State of the Union (and Obama's continuation) of a quest for 30 billion gallons of biofuels a year has caused a near doubling in the demand of corn, resulting in a doubling in the cost of corn, resulting in a doubling of the cost of beef.
Get off ethanol - meat becomes cheaper.
I am a cattleman. I raise beef cattle and sell at market . The main reason for the price of beef going up is Obama's "green inititive.". Corn is the main ingredient in most stck feeds and it has gone up as a direct result of the government subsidizing gasoline companies that use the 10% alcohol in their fuel. It costs you at the pump in lower gas milage, it costs you in taxes paid for the subsidies, and it costs you in the grocery store.
This is the truth. The price for me to raise the beef you buy has gone up, so you get to pay! This is another liberal action that hurts you directly!
beef is going up, so is everything else at grocery stores. even non-food items are skyrocketing. have you purchased paper goods lately? paper plates, napkins paper towels etc are ridiculus. charcoal for grilling has pretty much doubled in price. cleaning products out of sight.
this is just plain old inflation hitting because this administration is printing funny money. you ain't seen nothing yet!!
We have our own farm and (very) small herd of both beef and dairy cattle. Maybe we'll actually stop hemorrhaging cash and be able to break even this year!
Of course, it's also nice to be able to slaughter your own pastured, grass-fed bull every year and not have to eat that swill most people call beef, raised in feed lots and shot full of anitbiotics, hormones, and who knows what else. I wonder how many people have truly eaten real beef (or chicken, or pork)?
Who needs backyards anymore? Get rid of the swimming pools, patios and parking lots. It may be time for every family in America to have a few chickens, a few producing cattle, some pigs, maybe goats, a good garden and some of the tools of yesteryear that allowed families to make sure they had food to eat.
I realize that this isn't possible in a lot of regions of this country, but maybe, just maybe we're on the verge of forming neighborhood cooperatives, members who invest in being part of small entrepreneurial start-up farms that provide a source of food for its members. We partner with small to medium sized family farms. Gives them a shot to survive the Corporate takeover and is a plus for the rest of us. Nothing against Corporations, just interested in surviving this century.
We're going back to tie the past into the future. Could be the only way we survive. Get the DeLoreans out and watch for lightning.
You got to ask yourself.....are you better off than you were 4 years ago? The same question we ask every general election.
We've hade nothing but a long line of bad Presidents, both republican & democrats.
We keep electing the same old duds to congress.
When will the American voter wake up?
And ...chicken sales go up.
Why is a pound of bacon $5.30 is what I wanna know? Is there a pig shortage?
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