Beef Prices Rise Because of Cow Shortage

January 10, 2014

The next time you go to the grocery store you could see higher prices on your beef. Supermarkets all around the country are going up on their beef prices.

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) the price of Choice-Grade U.S. beef at wholesale set a new record high.

Back in November retail beef prices climbed to $5.41 per pound, they were $5.36 per pound in October.

Reid Super Save Market in Charlottesville says they are feeling the price jump too.

“It's been steady rising,” says Jean Norford, assistant meat manager. “We've seen anywhere from a .20 to .30 cent increase in the last two weeks.”

“Recently we had to go up .20 cent a pound on ground chuck which was $3.39, now it's $3.69,” says Norford.

The cause of the increase is being linked to a shortage in beef and colder temperatures are changing the way cows are transported through the winter weather.

“The farmers are afraid to send the cows to slaughter because they are thinking that they are going to freeze on the trucks along the way,” Norford explains. “I guess with it being an open truck they aren't heated and with the wind hitting them, it will tend to drop the temperatures down on them.”

Customers are still buying beef and some are even stocking up so they don't have to come back when the price jumps again.

“It's too much for us we can't handle this, you gotta come down on it,” says Delores Barbour. “All of it is going up, chicken is going up too. Four dollars a pack, five, six dollar pack of chicken wings, it's too much.”

Reid's market tries to keep their prices lower by buying in bulk, but they are still seeing a rise on the sticker price.

“We tend to have the best meat prices in town,” says Norford. “So as long as we can keep them down we will keep them down.”

The recent change in the way the USDA calculates the wholesale price for different cuts of beef was also a part of the price jump.

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