Beef Prices at Record High

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BOONE COUNTY - The price of beef is at an all-time high nationwide, but it does not come as a surprise.

Beef prices have risen due to the low supply of cattle in the US, plus the new demand overseas in Asia.

According to Mark Russell, Executive Director of the Missouri Beef Industry Council, lack of rainfall also can be attributed to increasing prices.

"Two to three years ago there was a lot of drought throughout the United States," Russell said.

Russell said effects of a long drought can be felt up to three years later.

The USDA forecasts the costs of all food to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent this year, and beef specifically 3 to 4 percent. On average, the price per pound is up about 3.4 percent, which amounts to about $0.15 per pound.

"Cattle numbers are at a 60 to 70 year low in the United States," Russell said. "The last time cattle was this low was 1949."

Depending on the region, one pound of beef can cost up to five dollars a pound. A contributing factor to the cost of beef is the rate of exporting.

According to The Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, exporting costs per head of cattle run more than $270.

Shortages in corn also lead to shortage in cattle and a higher demand in beef. If the corn supply increases, beef consumers could end up spending less.