High Meat Prices Due to Greater Demand, Lower Supply

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If you've been to the grocery store lately you may get sticker shock at some of the meat prices.

Economists say the increase is the strong demand for beef, pork and chicken as the supply has hit a 63-year low.

But these price increases are also a strain for ag producers.

Krista Dittman has a 240 acre farm near Raymond, Neb. and knows the weather plays a huge factor in determining the price you see at the store.

"Farming is still very linked to weather cycles and natural cycles, I think people forget that. It's so easy to go to the grocery store and get everything, but all these things are tied to what mother nature deals to us," said Dittman.

A few years ago, Dittman sold or killed most of her cattle herd to make ends meet.

"We are still recovering from that because we culled so we could reduce our beef prices, because we have fewer animals, we have less production," said Dittman.

Dittman says the cost of feed has skyrocketed too and that cost is passed on to the consumer.

Dr. Kathleen Brooks, a livestock economics specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says the shortage of cattle doesn't help reduce the price.

"We've been seeing a decline in the beef-cow herd," said Brooks.

And with the supply being so low, demand is peaking.

"We initially anticipated pork and poultry to start seeing some increases in supply and availability. We haven't seen that as much as anticipated," said Brooks.

"What we're seeing is really high prices for replacement stock and I think that's across the board," said Dittman.