Beef is a big business in Kentucky. The Commonwealth is the biggest beef producer, east of the Mississippi River. If it’s on your shopping list, get ready to spend more for it.
More than 2,300 cattle were up for auction at the Blue Grass Stockyards on Monday. They’re being sold are record-high prices.
“The high prices just reflect the high demand we have for our product,” said Jeremy Wiles with Eugene Barber & Sons.
“Basically we're setting new records every day right now,” said Jim Akers, COO for the Blue Grass Stockyards.
Akers says drought out West and last year’s high grain costs have sent the number of cattle in the US to its lowest level since 1953. Now supply and demand is causing cattle prices to increase.
He says prices started going up in the fall and now is trickling down to the consumer which means beef will cost more at the grocery store and restaurants.
“There's not going to be some dramatic, next week I go to the grocery store and meat is twice as expensive,” said Akers. “It's not going to be like that.”
The USDA expects choice-beef prices to be 2.5-3.5% higher than last year. Akers expects prices to keep going up until the cattle supply can catch up with demand.
“We deal with a very slow biological process and it will take several years to build those numbers back up to where it will stabilize,” said Akers.