The price of beef hit an all-time record this quarter at $5.55 a pound—a full 25 cents higher than last year at this time. Ann Wittmann, Director of the Wyoming Beef Council, says it’s a case of supply and demand. A nation-wide drought has reduced herd sizes to the lowest they’ve been in 60 years and that is driving up the price for both consumers and producers.
“We’re also seeing increased prices in the production aspect with fuel prices, feed prices,” Wittmann says. “And so, it isn’t as simple as just seeing an increased price and making more money because we’re also expending more money to maintain that smaller herd.”
The country’s drought has caused the price of all proteins to skyrocket, Wittmann says, not just beef. But she says prices should level off once ranchers have re-built the size of their herds and the drought comes to an end.
Wittmann says the good news is that beef remains popular and consumers have been willing to pay the higher prices.