Beef Prices at Near Record Highs: Good News for Retailers and Farmers

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Because of high prices at the pump, and more demand for plump red meat, beef prices are near record highs, just as grills fire up.

In Forreston, cattle farmers say while prices are lower than 2004, they're still getting the most per animal in the last 10 years.

Farmers say since 1998, nationwide beef consumption is up 25 percent, a big reason for the recent strong price returns.

Beef retailers like the one at Main Street Meat Company in Roscoe are also seeing bigger profits, primarily because of high gas prices.

Because of added travel costs, the store's charging 25 percent more for ground beef, and nearly 10 percent for steaks.

Both retailers and farmers, however, believe the beef prices will stabilize this summer.

"It's based on supply and demand. If we have a nice hot summer and everyone's buying meat and grilling out than the prices are going to go up. It's simple supply and demand. We have no control over that," Robert Prosser said.

Nationwide, the all-time record high for U.S. beef prices was more than $4.30 in November of 2003. Those high prices followed a cutoff of Canadian beef imports due to a mad cow disease scare.