Where’s The Beef? Low Meat Supply Will Lead To Higher Prices

Jan 30, 2013

The price of beef and pork will continue to climb this year, according to an agricultural economist at the University of Missouri.

Ron Plain says the supply of meat being produced in the United States is down due to the drought and high feed costs.

“That’s meant record costs of production on the farm for raising livestock and a lot of red ink and producers have responded by downsizing their herd somewhat and that means less meat,” Plain said.

The USDA predicts there will be 1.3% less red meat and poultry produced this year as compared to last year.

The biggest drop is in beef production, which is down about 4%.

Plain says in the long run, a return to normal rain conditions will help bring down costs.

“In the short run, about the only thing that can really happen to help us out is international trade,” Plain said. “We could import more meat or perhaps export less. That would leave more on the U.S. market and help moderate the increase in meat prices.”

Plain says we can expect to pay about 4% more for pork and beef and about 3% more for chicken.