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Beef Prices Expected to Rise in 2014

Weather conditions within the past three years have been bad for green grass, which is what cows eat. Now, beef prices may be rising.
JOPLIN, Mo.--- Weather conditions within the past three years have been bad for green grass, which is what cows eat. Now, beef prices may be rising.

"I mean here all that we are trying to do is serve a quality product. And you know, regardless of the price, it hasn't really affected us at all. Our main goal is to serve good food," said Ian Humphrey, Eagle Drive-In Cook.

Ian Humphrey at Eagle Drive-In could see his costs go up.

"It's mainly been driven by inventory cattle, inventory for the country as a whole. It's been going down the last few years," said Humphrey.

Over those last few years, there's been a rise in beef production costs. This increase is tied to a decrease in the availability of beef products.

"Cattle doesn't change as quick as some of the other proteins, like a chicken or pork. It takes awhile longer to actually increase cattle numbers," said Steve Owens, Joplin Stockyards Accountant.

Experts say the weather is to blame for this, but it's not the recent winter freeze.

"Two years ago we had the drought. That's probably the one thing that it drove people to liquidate herds, cut back on herd size and whatever," said Owens.

Owens says the demand for beef may cause prices to go up. 

"If you compare a 5 weight calf, which is kind of a standard animal around in our area of cattle operations within the last three years, I would say you've probably seen a 50 to 60 percent increase in pricing," said Owens.

Right now, the prices remain the same but you may begin to see an increase in grocery stores and restaurants. This increase in beef might happen sometime this year.



(KODE, Joplin)
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