Skyrocketing ground beef prices hit record highs

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: ground beef, skyrocketing prices, drought conditions

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(NaturalNews) As drought conditions persist well into late summer across the majority of U.S. states, agricultural production continues to be well below normal, meaning consumers will literally be paying the price for so much crop destruction.

One product where that has already begun to happen is beef; in fact, ground beef prices are skyrocketing, and based on a combination of Mother Nature and government action, prices are likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future.

In fact, according to Labor Department data, the price of ground beef hit a record high in the U.S. in July, rising to an average of $3.085 per pound, up from $3.007 in June.

Before June, the average price of 100 percent ground beef had never topped $3.00, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has been tracking ground beef prices since 1984, said.

"The beef has gone up about a dollar a pound since January," Mitch Scott, co-owner of Glenwood Smoked Products in Idaho Falls, told local media, adding that prices now are the highest he's seen since opening his store in 1983.

The bad news is this: It's going to get worse before it gets better. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is already predicting prices for meat and dairy products will increase 3.5 percent to five percent next year alone.

Hiking prices on a staple for families

Experts say prices should drop as summer winds down, but they are likely to rise again around October or November, as western states begin to feel the trickle-down effects of the drought that has devastated the Midwest.

Why does it matter how expensive ground beef is? Because it's a staple meat for millions of American families who use it - or used it - to stretch their grocery dollars. It's so versatile and, at one time, inexpensive, it was a meat product that could be used for a number of inexpensive meals.

Not anymore.

In fact, since January 2009, "the price of ground chuck has outpaced overall inflation. Had it tracked overall inflation, it would be $3.16 per pound now instead of approximately $3.45, " reported.

Does Washington have a dog in this inflation hunt? Yes, say some economists, who directly attribute Obama administration meddling to higher prices for meat and other farm commodities, like corn - now and down the road.

While the White House isn't responsible for the drought, it is responsible for policies it is crafting as a result of the drought, says a recent editorial in the Washington Examiner. Responding to an announcement by the president during a campaign swing through Iowa in mid-August that the USDA would buy $150 million worth of farm products, the paper said the additional "spending program" would "harm American consumers" while "protecting a corrupt (subsidy) program."

"Prices are low, farmers and ranchers need help, so it makes sense," Obama said. "It makes sense for farmers who get to sell more of their product, and it makes sense for taxpayers who will save money because we're getting food we would have bought anyway at a better price."

Because government knows best...

But what about later, when prices skyrocket because the law of supply and demand kicks in?

"A drought is currently driving down corn production. The shortage of feed is forcing livestock producers to slaughter animals early, putting downward pressure on meat prices in the short run and guaranteeing shortages and higher prices next year," the paper said. "But nature is not the biggest factor in this crisis -- the government is. Specifically, the federal government's ethanol mandate, which requires that 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be produced in 2012."

Continuing, the Examiner explained:

"Thanks to the ethanol mandate, more than 40 percent of the nation's corn crop now goes into the production of a useless fuel that hardly anyone would buy if the government didn't require it. That's up from just 17 percent in 2005, before the mandate went into effect. Only 36 percent of the corn crop now goes for feed, and 24 percent goes for food."

"Obama could solve this problem instantly by suspending the federal ethanol mandate -- something his EPA actually can do unilaterally and legally. Instead, Obama will buy up meat -- a move that meat producers say won't help them much anyway," said the editorial.

So a natural disaster has been made more disastrous.

Readers of NaturalNews fully realize how inane a policy it is believe it is to burn our food supply. We've regularly railed against it.

Now, throw in an unforeseen element - a drought - and viola: We have another disaster that would otherwise have been lessened were it not for the meddling policies of the federal Leviathan.


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