Washington County VA

Beef prices skyrocketing

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - It was all about beef at the Washington County, Virginia fairgrounds today for the seventh annual Tri-State Beef Conference.

Stockers and cow-calf producers learned about beef cattle, calf management, livestock, animal health and farm operations. There was also a trade show with animal health, feed and marketing organizations involved in the beef industry.

We asked Andrew Griffith, a stock extension specialist, why beef prices are so high right now. "Drought has really forced the cattle herd to decline over the past three or four years, thus we've been taking cattle to heavier weight, to have more beef production. But we're still not that level, so that's really what's forcing the beef prices as far as a retail level and wholesale level." Griffith says he doesn't see the price of beef going down any time soon, at least not in the next two or three years.

We wanted to take a closer look at the cause of rising beef prices.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, drought conditions are hurting grain production, which has a direct impact on the number of cattle raised.
Right now beef supply is at a 63-year low, with inventory at 87.7 million heads of cattle.

And with the number of cattle down, the price of beef is going up.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average price of ground beef at $4.23 per pound, while steaks per pound are nearly $7. We've learned that since 2009, beef prices are up 76-percent.

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