DROUGHT DAMAGE: Beef Price On The Rise

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The effects of the drought have finally started to hit food prices and that’s causing both producers and consumers to make changes

As people sit down to enjoy a nice meal at Exile Brewing Company little do they know, the food they’re eating is on the rise.

Chef Gabe Ayers says the biggest increase can be seen in beef prices.

“The biggest thing we`re seeing an increase on is our ground chunk that we use for our burgers, and it`s went up probably a good fifty-cents or so compared to a month ago,” says Chef Ayers.

Chef Ayers says the increase hasn’t forced the restaurant to up its prices but if things don’t change he may have to re-adjust the menu, rather than charge customers more.

“If it continues if it doesn`t come back down in a couple of weeks, yeah you might see us take a few things off the menu and wait for the prices to come back down to a reasonable price,” says Chef Ayers.

The increase can also be felt by the producers like Kirk Lynch of New Hampton.

“Cattle numbers are low in the United States right now, so therefore there is less supply of ground meat, muscle meats, so it`s been on a steady rise,” says Lynch.

Farmers attend events like this week’s Beef Expo to supplement their income and after this summer’s drought every penny counts.

“We had to pay higher feed costs for our cattle, the inputs are a lot higher this year with the drought, therefore we have more money invested in the end product so therefore we need to market our cattle for more money,” says Lynch.

That leaves it up to people like Chef Ayers to figure out how to make the numbers work.

“It`s one of them things that you either deal with it or you find an alternative product to use,” says Chef Ayers.

Analysts say it takes about three years for the beef supply to build back up so some prices could continue to climb until 2016.

Local producers say a good crop next year could help reduce the cost of feed therefore preventing beef prices from skyrocketing even higher.

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