That fabulous, tender, juicy ribeye making your mouth water may have to remain a figment of your imagination as beef prices continue to escalate.
David Anderson, a professor with Texas A&M Agrilife and a livestock economist, says it won’t change soon. He cites a few reasons, one being the backlogs and chokepoints in the economy, including labor shortages in packing and processing plants and the truckers to transport the goods, but says it’s mostly because there isn’t as much quantity of those high-quality, marvelously marbled steaks that we love to devour.
We don’t have as many cattle.
The choice and prime beef choices are rarer, so to speak, because there are fewer cattle going to market, and those that make the trip weight less than cattle in the past. Tight supplies of high quality beef hitting at a time that wages are going up and people are enjoying more money.
Anderson says the long-term issue started a couple years ago: feed was expensive, beef prices had dropped, so ranchers cut their herds. There are less cattle. If some of the logjams resolve, he suggests, and more product moves through the system quicker it might stabilize prices, but don’t look for prices to drop in the foreseeable future.
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