Cattle herds thin as beef prices keep rising
POSTED: Friday, February 10, 2012 - 8:32am
UPDATED: Friday, February 10, 2012 - 8:33am
LONGVIEW — Nothing says summer like the aroma and sizzle of a steak on the grill — but those are pleasures that are expected to cost even more this year and next.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that beef prices could climb as much as 10 percent a year in 2012 and 2013, and the increase could be even greater if demand from other countries increases.
It’s happening because cattle growers, already beaten down by rising costs for feed, fuel and other inputs, are struggling for survival as record drought grips Texas and other major cattle-producing states.
“We’re producing less beef so prices are going to go up,” said David Anderson, a livestock economist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
The situation has been worst in Texas, the nation’s leading cattle producer, where drought caused pastures to wither and ranchers had few options but to sell their cattle or pay top-dollar for feed. The soaring feed costs come amid heightened demand for corn to produce ethanol and to meet a growing export market.
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