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Drought conditions trouble local farmers, causing meat prices to rise

Posted at 8:47 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 21:47:17-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Inflation and fuel prices are to blame for the challenges farmers have faced, but now there's a concern over how the drought will impact the price of beef.

"Right now, the market is up a little bit due to the current situation because of fuel prices and the drought,” said Michael Meehan, the co-owner of Staples Street Meat Market.

Meehan knows all about the different cuts of meat. What it should smell like, the color of it and how much it'll cost you.

Meehan said he's now paying 20 percent more than what he did last year.

So, to keep up with the demand and changing prices, he turns to vendors from across the country.

"We're having to search other than local to find the opportunity buys,” he said.

Although Meehan said business has been steady, the cost of beef can increase even more.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, severe drought forced 40 percent of farmers to liquidate a portion of their herds.

This year, the percentage could be even higher.

Joe Paschal at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office tells KZTV why this is happening.

"We don't have the grass, it hasn't rained and that began 18 months ago over in the West; California, Nevada and now it’s hitting us," he said. "It was right after July when we really started to sell a lot of cows."

Paschal said he is spending 50 percent more to feed his cattle compared to last year. That's why other farmers have started to shrink the size of their herd to see some profit.

As we work through the supply of meat, that's when prices will begin to climb, he said.

"I think that over the next two or three years the price at the retail level will move up, but for the ranchers the prices at their levels will move up,” said Paschal.

Paschal estimates customers will notice the increase in prices by next year.