In two years, the price of ground beef jumped almost 30 percent on the retail level. It was just under $3.00 a pound in 2012, now it’s closer to $3.85 according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
The market can be scary for cattle traders too, there’s a flux in price. Low supply for the last few years has driven prices up and low feed costs aren’t helping; producers are taking livestock out of the mix to fatten up.
Still, demand for beef is high, especially at events like the Iowa State Fair. John Mortimer with the Cattleman’s Beef Quarters at the fair says it’s likely prices will be higher this year on some items, “Maybe a quarter on certain items or something like that. But not so much they can’t afford to eat, or we certainly hope not.”
Each year the Cattleman’s Beef Quarters showcases the best of beef to customers at the fair, and this year, Mortimer says there’s at least one special item to sway opinions in a state that can’t get enough bacon.
“There’s a new product coming on in the market, I don’t even think it’s on yet. It’s coming on sometime this June or July called ‘schmacon’, it’s a beef-bacon and it’s actually processed in Denison, Iowa. So we’re going to add that to our breakfast menu.”
Another feature this year is Iowa’s Best Burger. On August 8 at the Iowa State Fair, the best burger picked by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council will be showcased. This year’s winner is Brick City Grill of Ames.