Local meat markets reporting high beef prices

UPDATED Thursday, March 6, 2014 --- 5:45 p.m.

Beef. It may be a staple on your dinner table, but it's now going to cost you more. The average price for a pound of fresh beef is the highest its been in at least 27 years, and local meat markets are feeling the pinch.

Prices for your favorite sirloin, filet, rib eye or roast are sky-rocketing, even here. "Recently they've gone crazy. Just crazy expensive for us," says John Lehman, owner of Jim's Meat Market in Madison. He adds, "I sell just about every steak cut that there is."

He's been having to adjust prices just to stay in line with the rest of the country. "Usually the wholesale products go up $.20, $.25. Some of those products went up $2.00 which is double the price," he adds.

And even though Wisconsin's cattle supply is in the green, the lingering effects of drought in California, the Great Plains and Texas have led to the smallest US herd size in 60 years. Also, record beef exports in 2013 means high prices nationwide.

"Our tenderloins, our filets come out of Texas. But most of the other stuff will be from the Midwest," he said. And with grilling season right around the corner, expect to see a twist to your typical burger hitting the shelves. He adds, "we'll be making more chicken patties, pork patties, stuff like that so we're still affordable."

18 states are on the decline with cattle herd numbers, but Wisconsin is an exception. Last year our state was third in the country in growing beef cattle numbers, right behind Washington and Nebraska.

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Posted Thursday, March 6, 2014 --- 9:55 a.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- The average price for a pound of fresh beef is the highest in at least 27 years.

That's according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Austin Arndt, president of the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association tells the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/1gUEza5 ) it's due to the lingering effects of drought in California, the Great Plains and Texas that have led to the smallest U.S. herd size in 60 years.

That coupled with record beef exports in 2013 means high prices nationwide.

The department says the average price for a pound of fresh beef reached $5.04 in January, the highest on records that date back to 1987.

Holmen Locker and Meat Market owner Scott Stettler says he's seen wholesale beef costs jump 60 cents a pound over the past few months.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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