POSTED: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 1:48am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 7:55am
Ranchers and feedlots lose out as a result.
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Americans love their beef, but with prices expected to remain high for the next few years and other options plentiful, their loyalities might be challenged.
Average retail prices of beef have climbed from $4.18 per pound in July 2009 to $4.44 per pound last July, a change largely due to a tight supply of cattle. Ranchers and feedlots have reduced supplies in response in large part due to rising prices of corn and soybeans fed to cattle, economists said.
"You've got a whole bunch of things coming together and it's driving all meat prices higher," said Ken Mathews, an agricultural economist with the research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Beef is the highest price of the meats so that's the one that gets the notice."
Cattle producers "took it on the chin" the past several years, Texas A&M University livestock economist David Anderson said, "and the response to that economically is to produce less because you're losing money."