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      Beef prices almost reach record highs

      If you like beef, get ready to fork out the bucks when you visit the grocery story.

      Several factors have caused an increase in beef and cattle prices including the drought, forced movement of cattle because of the drought and even record high export numbers. That's why prices have been dancing dangerously close to record highs.

      "We've seen higher prices ," said Texas Cattle Feeders Association Market Director, Don Close. "One thing that we've seen, most of the increase in the wholesale trade has been substantially more than what we've seen at the retail sector."

      That means, even though you think you're hurting now when buying beef, it's actually not hurting your pocketbook quite as much as it could be.

      "Year-to-date, wholesale prices are up 17 percent while retail prices are only up 11 percent," said Close. " Retailers have really pushed to hold that counter price as stable as possible. We could see some more of that price pass through, but the brunt of it should be in already."

      But if you're worried about prices really sky-rocketing over the next few years, relax. Close believes cattle supplies between now and 2013 with only drop about ten percent.

      "With that kind of reduction , will it mean prices tripling or doubling or some of the worst case scenario stories that are out ther e," he said. "W e wouldn't expect that at all."

      That's just the good news. The bad news? We won't exactly be seeing any dramatic relief from the current prices any time soon.

      "To see prices roll back substantially, that's doubtful too ", said Close.