Beef Prices Increase to All-Time High

Your summer barbecues just got a bit more expensive

Wonderful news, just in time for grilling season: NBC News reports that the price of wholesale beef hit an all-time high on Friday, which means your grocery store receipt might have a couple extra bucks tacked on if you're getting some burgers.

On Friday, the wholesale price of a USDA cut of choice beef was $201.68 per 100 pounds, NBC News reports. This is the most expensive beef has ever been; the previous high was $201.18 in October 2003. The reason for that price jump? All Canadian beef imports were prohibited thanks to mad cow disease; prices dropped back down by 30 percent by the end of 2003.

This time around, crazy beef prices can be attributed to a variety of reasons; thanks to the use of corn to produce ethanol, corn prices have doubled. The cattle and calf herd in the U.S. is also the lowest since 1952, thanks to poor pasture conditions and hay crops, not to mention droughts, a USDA economist told NBC News. Furthermore, plenty of American meat is going overseas.

Prices will slowly start affecting retail markets, and better cuts of meat will be harder to come by thanks to the reduced corn diet. And while factory-raised meats prices won't increase as much as organic meats and the like, these pitfalls and price increases mean that smaller farmers will get nudged out, as their prices may go out of the range of some consumers. Perhaps we should stick with hot dogs this year.

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