Beef Prices On The Rise

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CALHOUN COUNTY-- The price of beef is rapidly rising. Experts say there are a number of factors responsible. The problems begin on the farms and ranches.

Steak, hamburger and pot roast is getting more expensive for the average family.

"You know it makes you concerned when you see these things continue to rise," Davine Shores said.

Experts say current beef prices are the highest they've been, percentage wise, since the 1980's. The high demand comes from a shrinking supply of beef cattle and recent drought conditions.

"So mainly this is an issue worldwide. Even in Florida the numbers of cattle has declined and its strictly drought-related. So even in Florida we have a smaller cow herd then we had ten years ago," Tony Mayo, County Extension Director, said.

Another major factor is a growing international market. The larger demand for beef is not necessarily a bad thing for farmers.

"Cattle are one of the most promising enterprise for farmers right now because the price is high."

But the short supply means higher prices for the unforseeable future.

"I don't think we are going to see beef prices go down for a while yet. I think that the demand is high enough and its going to continue to be that uhm its gonna keep the price of cattle up which in turn is going to keep the prices of beef in the supermarket up as well," Leighann Ennis, Southern Cattle Company, said.

Experts say prices could drop if farmers can produce more beef cattle and if the drought ends.