Beef Prices Highest in 27 Years

The question isn’t where’s the beef; it’s why the heck it costs so much? With prices of beef hitting a nearly three-decade high, Americans may be left in a state of sticker-shock. With cattle herds dwindling and a growing foreign demand from countries like China and Japan, average American beef prices have risen to $5.28 a pound. Droughts have forced many ranchers to reduce their herds, and even though the rain has been better this year, they are still in a rebuilding state, which means beef prices will likely remain high for at least another few years. Some ranchers are concerned that consumers will be deterred from buying beef at the higher prices, and restaurants—both chains and local places—may start cutting down on beef items and portions. “It really squeezes the small guys more,” said Mark Hutchens, owner of the 50 Yard Line Steakhouse in Lubbock, Texas. “You just can’t keep going up on people forever. I just think you have to stay competitive and keep your costs low.”