by Susan Duclos, All News Pipeline:
If it is not bad enough that with projections from the Farmer’s Almanac showing this winter with be colder/wetter/more precipitation that electric and gas bills will be extremely high, especially in colder climates, we now are seeing being warned that the price for beef and beef-related products are expected to rise 100% compared to the prices just one year ago.
According to Financial Times, average prices of beef sold in grocery stores and butcher shops, is now higher than it was during the pandemic. The amount of hay stored to feed cattle as of the end of 2022, was at its lowest point since 1954.
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Between drought and lack of hay, ranchers are again cutting their herd sizes, which is already at 61 year low.
Fast food restaurants that serve burgers, are also expected to go through another round of price hikes. Fine dining, steaks, burgers, stews, casseroles, will all see price spikes over the course of 2024, with no clue
But ranchers, who would normally thrive on record prices, are instead worried that the prices reflect a growing crisis: years of drought or low rainfall in prime cattle-raising land that is turning green pastures into dust fields.
Last year scientists said the western US was facing the worst dry spell seen in 1,200 years. More than a third of the lower forty-eight states are still in drought as of October 31, according to the US Drought Monitor.
|Image via U.S. Drought Monitor|
If you look at the chart above, it clearly shows that Covid lockdowns caused a spike in beef prices in 2020, which came sharply down within months, and then in 2021, when Biden took office, they spiked again, and they are at the highest levels since 2012.
We have said it before but it bears repeating, all the medias’ attempts to gaslight America by exclaiming “inflation is down,” doesn’t change the fact that prices are not. We have not seen negative inflation, meaning prices are still 20% higher now than they were when Joe Biden started occupying the White House.
For beef, that 20% is about to get a whole lot higher.
Here are some key points from the Financial Times piece before moving along to other food news.
• At the start of the year the US government counted 28.9mn beef cows in the US, the lowest number since 1962.
• “When margins are good, heifers are retained and they have another calf,” Lapp said, “but when times are tough that heifer goes to a feedlot. Lately a very large share of what’s been going to the feedlot is heifers.”
• Beef production is down 5.2 per cent year-on-year, said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at broker StoneX. He estimates that will fall another 7 per cent next year.
• “From the day you and I decided the world needed more chicken to the day there was more chicken on people’s plates, that would be six months,” Lapp added. “For beef it’s over two years. So when the industry has to adjust it takes much longer.”
Two years, meaning we could see prices continue to rise for at least that long.