Cattle Shortage Causing Spike in Beef Prices

If you’re planning to have beef for dinner… you may have to pay more.

A shortage of cattle nationwide is forcing businesses in our area to hike their beef prices.

Some people say those prices are the highest in decades.

According to a Weis Markets spokesperson, three years ago meat packers processed an average of 620,000 cattle a week and today that number is in the low 500,000’s.

For that reason area businesses say they’re having to hike up their prices and shoppers aren’t liking it.

“We don’t put out nearly the selection we did because beef slowed down quite a bit and a lot of people can’t afford it,” Robert Bunge, owner of Bunge’s Meat Store said.

A Weis Markets spokesperson says that the price of beef has been significantly impacted by the high price of corn a while back, which is used to feed a cattle herd.

Officials at Weis also say that some farmers have not expanded their herds since which has resulted in fewer cattle going to market.

Bunge agrees and says these reasons are causing a spike in prices at his shop.

“Chuck roasts are $5.19 they were $3.99 six months ago so they’ve gone up over a dollar a pound,” Bunge said.

At Gensemer Meat Company near Bloomsburg prices went up 20 cents a pound just last week.

The shop isn’t a retailer but the people who run it say they still purchase cattle on a weekly basis.

Owner John Gensemer says all of their customers buy in bulk – but even they are seeing high prices.

“They’re going to win in the long run because they’re buying in bulk but the prices are still going to be way up there,” John Gensemer of Gensemer Meat Company said.

As for some of the grocery stores in Columbia County, officials at Weis tell us they’re not seeing any issues with beef when it comes to availability and supply in its stores.

They are noticing that some customers are buying other things like chicken or pork.

A spokesperson for Weis Markets said some of their beef comes from out west — but they also purchase Natural Angus beef from right here in Pennsylvania.

Weis Markets says they have absorbed some of the price increases, but cannot absorb all increases.

As for shoppers they say no matter where beef comes from, it’s too expensive.

“We used to be able to get ground meat cheaper but it’s not anymore. I don’t go for it too much anymore,” Dawn Hetherington of Zion Grove said.

Back at Gensemers Meat Company they owner says this nationwide cattle shortage will likely have an impact on everyone.

“Now a days you have to think globally so yeah, in the long run I think it will probably be some of the highest prices anyone has ever seen,” Gensemer said.

Both shop owners tell Newswatch 16 they aren’t sure when beef prices will go back down.

They believe it could take at least a year for farms out west to grow its cattle herd back to where it was.

14 comments

  • Robert Schreib

    Dear Sirs, If the beef shortage is indirectly caused by a lack of feed or silage to feed all of the cattle, what if we implementated a universal organic lawn treatments, no pesticides allowed, hire kids to make dandelion wine out of the weeds they pick from all lawns, and recycled all of the cut grass from our nation’s lawns, to turn into hay to feed the cattle and milk cows? Presently, all this lawn clippings is just going to the overflowing landfills, a complete waste of a renewable food source for our herds of cattle.

    • Charles Cox

      The reason the prices are so high is that they are transporting our beef to china, it is a big secret , only a few places on youtube are covering it!
      they are charging china big prices and u.s big prices cause now there is a shortage, cause they are getting rich selling our beef to china and the poor farmers are getting what they normaly do and double priceing us and triple pricing china!

  • John Arnold

    This is what this great opportunity the Global Market is doing for “Everyone”. Well everyone of the elite globalist multinational companies. Thanks to Bill Clinton toppling the great nation we were before he opened Pandoras Box ( NAFTA). And people want his evil wife for president? Guilt by association. She and Bill are the face of elitism and could care less about We the People. They just keep piling on us. Everything is becoming so expensive.

  • Stefanie Sexton

    Hope the prices come down soon. I work in a beef plant and my hours of work depend on folks buying ground beef. When people don’t buy meat, I don’t have a lot work. Paying the bills is hard this time of the year especially when they raise the price of beef.

  • Get a backbone

    Beef will come back down when people stop buying it. The market will correct itself.

    Sometimes government regulation is not that bad on certain things like beef. Would you rather buy unregulated beef with some E. coli? Part of regulation is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

    Not all regulation is bad. People need to stop generalizing it.

  • Jer Tobin

    All people need to do is simply not pay the costs, let the stores eat the loss which will cause them to cut back on their purchases until it trickles back all the way back to the farm. What then will happen is the farmers will realize that beef is not profitable to produce and move on to something all together OR they will accept a lower income and deal with having to price the beef lower to get it sold.

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