If you??re a regular beef eater, you??ve probably noticed in the past two years that the price of your typical steak has gone up significantly, and much of that is due to a severe drought, right here in the great plains.
In January, the USDA recorded the highest price for a pound a fresh beef ever recorded since the government agency began tracking this statistic in 1987. these prices have continued to escalate, as a pound of uncooked ground beef has jumped 3.8% up to $3.73 per pound just in the past month.
Dr Stephen Amosson, a Texas A&M Extension Economist says that meat supplies are down, and we??re expecting these supplies to be down 6-7% this year. When the supply goes down, prices tend to go up and of course our situation is compunded not only by a lack of profitabiltiy but by drought."
The United States is the largest producer of beef in the world, but droughts in the plains and in California have devastated the grass that the cattle feeds on. Additionally, demand outside of America, especially in Mexico and Eastern Asia means that much of our meat has ended up on dinner tables elsewhere. Additional demand for beef has also pushed up prices, right during a time of a reduced number of herds nationwide.
Melvin Edes of Edes Custom Meats of Amarillo says that "the drought is one thing, people cutting back on their herds is another thing, and 10 million hogs have died because of the swine flue this year. that??s the other thing that??s pushing people to buy more beef, because pork??s going up. if you can buy beef for what pork sells for, why not buy beef?"
Experts say beef prices will probably continue to rise given current drought conditions, but hopefully should it start raining, the price of that steak on your table could come down.