Meat Prices at All Time High, No Sign Yet of Drop

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If you're looking to cook burgers or maybe a steak on the grill this Summer you might want to start saving now, because industry experts say beef prices are at an all time high.

"Typically throughout different times of the year you see ebbs and flows in the market, prices go up, prices come down," said Trenton Tophoj, the Manager at Carnivores Meats in Grand Island. "So things like prime rib at Christmas time, you expect those prices to climb, they climbed higher than we thought they would and they haven't dropped. Again there's a build up towards your Summer holidays. It looms even larger because the prices that have risen that we expected to come back down again haven't."

So prices that are about to go up again are going up from already high prices!

Whether it's ground beef, bacon, sausage, or steaks, right now everything costs more than it did one year ago today.

"Right now, if you walk into my store, you're going to find an upper choice rib eye steak that's going to run you about $15.99 a pound," said Tophoj. "You came in the store last year at this time, you're looking at either $11.99 or $12.99 a pound. $3.00 a pound is a pretty big jump."

That big jump also means a big fall for meat purchases. Tophoj said his Carnivores Meats saw a normal drop in business after the new year, but the higher prices certainly didn't help.

Luckily, however, he's starting to see some of that business come back.

"As the weather has picked back up we've seen our customers return in full force. We've been fortunate enough to establish a loyal following that our customers continue to come through the door," he said.

But those customers are shelling out bigger bucks than what they're used to.

With meat prices already high, and looking like they'll continue to rise, the question many people ask is not, 'How much is it?' but, 'When will it be less?'

"Truth be told, everything that I've looked at so far hasn't really indicated one way or the other," said Tophoj. "As far as the vendors that I work with they have yet to definitively tell me, 'Hey. this is what's going to happen.'"

But with grilling season right around the corner, a lot of customers want to have that enjoyable steak or burger.

So Tophoj says meat experts can help you get that quality meal without breaking the bank.

He said, "There is no bad cut of meat. We can show you how to work with a more value priced cut and make it just as flavorful, just as tender if you're looking to save a little bit on your grocery bill."

One of the reasons for this rise is the difference in price of select and choice steaks being so small, when it's usually pretty significant.

Tophoj said, "It just so happens that at the current time that grade out discrepancy is very very narrow so you're seeing what a select price steak may cost is very, very similar to what a choice steak may cost and so what this does is it allows beef as a whole just to continue to go up because different links in the production chain know that they can achieve that specific price that they want to get out of it."

Another issue is there's less cattle across the country available and it takes as much as 3 years for what young cattle there are to be ready for market.