Iowa families face even higher beef prices - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa families face even higher beef prices

In the last year, the price of beef rose between 10 percent and 23 percent, depending on cut. In the last year, the price of beef rose between 10 percent and 23 percent, depending on cut.

The US Department of Agriculture released a report Thursday morning, indicating beef prices may continue to rise.

In the last year alone, the average price of beef in the US has jumped anywhere from 10 percent to 23 percent, depending on the cut.

Jeff Cremer is the third generation owner of Cremer's Grocery in Dubuque.

"My grandfather, my uncle and my father owned the business," he said, cutting beef Thursday afternoon in the store.

He takes special pride in the meat department.

"We're a meat market or a butcher, for sure. That's why we're still here. That's why people still seek us out," Cremer said.

He, like meat retailers nationwide, has seen a rise in the price of beef.

"We had seen a steady increase since the middle of last year," he said.

One reason is supply and demand. The US started the year with the lowest number of cattle and calves, or the smallest herd, it has seen since 1952, according to the USDA.

The beef export market has been growing as well.

"These products are being sold all over the world in large volume, and that will really have a big effect on, obviously, supply and demand and price," Cremer said.

Experts are saying customers could see the price of beef rise as much as 10 percent per year in 2012 and 2013.

Cremer said, there's a happy medium.

"We certainly would rather not see the prices rising," he said, adding, "There would be a concern if the prices were dropping too much, too. I mean, that's an indicator that people aren't eating as much meat. There's not as much demand."

For now, however, the demand and higher prices are present.

The high price of corn is also driving up beef costs, since many farmers use it for feed. The drought in the southern states has hurt the cattle supply, too, as ranchers there have faced either paying top-dollar for feed or selling their herd.

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