Why Beef Prices Are at a Record High

By: Kim Cung - Email
By: Kim Cung - Email

The beef industry is the largest economic driver in Nebraska, with more than $2 billion infused into the state's economy each year. That's why Thursday is Nebraska Cattleman's Day at the state fair and the cattlemen say they don't mind the current record-high beef prices.

Today, feeder cattle can sell for up to two fifty a pound. That's up from around a dollar the past few years. And it's all because of the weather.

"We have a shortage of cows in the country. Cattle numbers were down, due to the drought, due to fires, you know, and people had to sell off a lot of cows," said Bill Angell, the Fair's Livestock Superintendent.

Parched pastures aren't the place for growing calves so now that herds are smaller, it can take around three years to expand. But Angell sees it as a good thing for both cattlemen and the consumer, who gets tastier meals.

"It costs a lot to raise good beef, but...so it's about time they start getting, the value of what it costs and in order to raise good quality beef," said Angell.

But cattlemen won't get to pocket all of their profits.

Lowell Minert, who is on the livestock committee for the fair said, "The economics of it is making it so that cattlemen are able to pay off some debt, get their operations in order and gradually increase their numbers and not do it really rapidly."

For Ken Real, who lives and works out in McCool Junction, he's faced some difficulties, but says he can't complain.

"Cattle have been profitable for the last six months. It's been hard to place cattle, the numbers are short. A lot of interest, a lot of demand for calves. But it has been good," said Real.

There are a plethora of activities going on at the fair Thursday to allow cattlemen to showcase their hard work including the open beef cattle show. The Nebraska Cattlemen's Beef Pit will provide a special barbecue dinner for cattlemen along with remarks from Gov. Heineman.

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