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Restaurants Feel Impact of Rising Beef Prices

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Beef prices are on the rise in Missouri. KOLR10 looked into what is contributing to the price hike and how it's impacting local restaurants.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Beef prices have reached an all time high.

According to the Missouri Farm Bureau's latest market basket survey, ground chuck costs Missourians about 73 cents more a pound this year than last year.  The sirloin tip roast costs about $1.05 more. 

Local restaurants are feeling the impact.  Co-owner of Flame Steakhouse and Touch Restaurant Mike Jalili says it's no secret beef prices are on the rise.

"It affects us," says Jalili.  "Especially owning a steakhouse where 70 percent of your sales are steak."

Jalili says the steaks he buys are three dollars a pound more now than this time last year.

"Right now it's almost 12 dollars a pound," he says.  "Which is expensive."

Rising prices aren't something you'll likely find on his menus, though.

"This is not the answer," he says.  "You look at other avenues to control costs."

Jalili's staff members are constantly finding ways to make sure nothing goes to waste.

"We save the ends and cuts and pieces and use them as taco meat," he says.

Record cattle prices on the farm is one thing contributing to the rising cost of beef prices at the supermarket.

"Calves I sold three years ago for $500, I'm selling for $1,200 today," says Beef Farmer Keith Baxter.

Baxter is a seventh generation beef farmer.  He says his profit margin is hardly budging due to fuel, fertilizer and feed prices.

"Around 12 cents of every dollar you spend at the grocery store is actually coming to me-- the producer on the farm," he says.

The recent drought caused farmers to downsize their herds and they're working on building them back, which takes time.

"For me, if I said today I want to increase my production, I'm looking at 24 months at least," says Baxter.

But, there's no reason for people to 'have a cow' yet.  Farmers say as long as the weather cooperates, the future will be bright for consumers.

"Prices will go down," says Baxter.  "We will catch up.  The market will catch up and it will soften."

In addition to the weather, Missouri Farm Bureau workers say protein is in tight supply due to worldwide consumer demand as well, which is also contributing to the price hike.
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