Produce markets and markets for livestock are booming.
But they are not the only areas where prices are rising.
In the meat and dairy sector, demand is high, but prices are going up as well.
“There is an explosion of production in the meat market,” says Chris Withers, a producer and director at Beef Market Research.
“We’ve seen prices jump almost 40% on the past few weeks.”
The market is booming.
But it’s not just the beef industry that is in the spotlight.
The most prominent meat producers have also seen prices go up.
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, beef producers saw an 8% increase in meat prices last week, to $6.60 per pound.
The meat and poultry sector saw a 5% increase, to a record $6,879 per pound, and the dairy sector saw prices jump 6% to $7.85 per pound (from $6).
“A lot of people have lost their jobs,” says Wither.
Some meat producers are also raising prices, and there are a few who are taking drastic measures.
For example, one farm in Oregon raised prices by 1,000% to cover a 2% increase to feed for livestock.
“This is going to hurt us, it’s going to make us pay a lot more,” says John McBride, the manager of The Farm Bureau’s Beef Markets program.
McBride says that the price of cattle and lamb in the United States is not going to rise much in the near term, and he expects that price increases will be short lived.
“You have to go back to the beginning of time, when people were still eating a lot of grains and meat,” he says.
As far as what farmers are doing to mitigate their impact, Wither says that farmers are trying to limit cattle prices to $10 per head.
That’s not enough to cover the $5,000 or so they’re going to have to spend to feed livestock.
In the meat sector, McBride says, the cost of grain and other feed are rising fast.
At The Farm Bar, John McRae and his son, Mike, are raising chickens in a greenhouse to feed their animals, and they are now paying about $3,000 per head for the feed.
When asked if he thought he could keep raising chickens and selling the eggs that they raise, he said he doesn’t know, but that he’d be willing to put the money toward the eggs.
He also says that his father-in-law’s chicken farm, which has raised more than 2,000 chickens since it opened in 2014, will continue to do so.
What are you paying to feed your chickens?
McBride: I’d say a couple hundred bucks a pound.
Wither: I know that’s a lot, but it’s what we need.
McBride and McRue said that they’re still able to raise chickens because they have more than 1,200 chickens.
They also sell eggs and dairy products, which are sold by the pack.
It’s a small price to pay to feed a herd of chickens, McRaues says.
He also says the prices they’re seeing are not a reflection of a shortage of feed.
“The feed price has not gone up, it has gone up,” he said.
And if that price doesn’t come down in the next couple of weeks, McBrians hopes that producers will have enough money to keep their animals.
Withers says that producers who are raising livestock should keep a close eye on their animals and their costs.
If they don’t, he says, they may not have enough cash to pay for a year of feed or to feed animals for a few months, and that could be costly.
That’s why Wither and McBride are making a concerted effort to keep cattle prices low, and also to keep beef prices low.
“If we can keep prices low enough, and the cattle aren’t selling for that, we’re good,” McBride said.
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