Friday, July 25, 2014
Meat, its what you can't afford anymore
Beef have been hit by the drought to the point that prices have been climbing at rates not seen for a long time. Pork producers have had their herds decimated by diarrhea, driving pork prices higher and higher.
Soaring meat prices are hitting producers, suppliers and consumers across the country. The price of beef and veal shot up more than 10 percent from June 2013 to June 2014, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index. Pork prices rose by 12 percent.And chicken will rise as people switch to what looks to be affordable, until it isn't. Enjoy that barbecue while you can.
The largest price increases in three years are driven by one main thing: supply. Drought has thinned herds of cattle. Disease has struck pork.
While demand is high and technology allows more producers to get more meat than ever out of cattle, the domestic beef supply is at a 63-year low, according to beef industry experts and U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Meanwhile, pork farmers in over 40 states have reported cases of a pig virus called porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDv), an illness most fatal to newborn pigs. The virus has hit many pork farmers in Midwest states and North Carolina harder than others. The nation’s pig population is at its lowest since 2006.
Although swine populations probably will rebound soon, experts said, the beef supply could be a problem for several years.
“We’re seeing unprecedented price levels,” said Derrell Peel, an agricultural economics professor at Oklahoma State University. He added: “Ultimately, everyone will pay part of that impact.”
The drought that started in 2011 in many major cattle-producing states, especially Texas, cut down the grazing space for cattle. That forced farmers to sell animals to feed lots to be slaughtered. The economic recession and price shocks in cattle feed also contributed to the beef supply problem, Peel said.
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