Beef prices increase 20%, Wisconsin wholesale farmer stresses importance to shop local

Farmers who work with large packaging facilities and grocery stores are not seeing larger chunk of that profit.
Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 10:15 PM CST
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RIO, Wis. (WMTV) - Nearly 12%; that’s the price increase for meats, poultry, fish and eggs over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For example, the price of beef itself is more than 20% higher.

Even though those beef prices have increased, farmers who work with large packaging facilities and grocery stores are not seeing larger chunk of that profit because there are more people to pay in the process of getting the beef to the consumer.

“By buying local, we control that price, rather than a meat packer,” Sarah Wells, wholesale owner and operator of Wells Farm in Rio said. “You may buy from us at a time when we’re a little bit higher than the grocery store, but other times, we may be at the same level.”

She’s selling a lot of beef during a time where prices are the highest, they’ve been in decades.

“We have seen people coming to us and saying, ‘oh, this is about what it costs at the grocery store’ or ‘this is cheaper than what we bought at the grocery store,’” Wells said. Wells is using that business to do business closer to home.

As a wholesaler, Wells chooses who she invests her profit in, when doing business.

“We buy our feed from local plant, or a local farmer next door who we buy our hay from or a local butcher,” Wells said.

Wells says making one local purchase doesn’t seem like much, but it can go a long way.

“Small businesses are what build communities, so by us being able to invest that back into a small business owner or a small business enterprise, it just helps strengthen our community and allows us, all of us to be sustainable,” Wells said.

The BLS reports this 20% beef increase is the highest in 31 years.

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