Beef prices at all time high, according to USDA - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Beef prices at all time high, according to USDA

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Beef prices have skyrocketed. In fact, they're at an all time high.

According to the USDA, beef is up 5.4 percent since this time last year. Experts say there are several reasons for the big jump, including the fact that input costs, like corn, fuel and fertilizer are very costly.

"We're not making as much money as it may look because fuel and fertilizer, just everything, vehicles," said Chuck Madaris, a local farmer. "I mean we have started growing corn silage and grain feed just trying to keep our input cost down."

Beyond the increase in cost to produce beef, experts say the rise in price all boils down to simple economics. The supply of cattle is low, primarily due to extreme drought conditions the nation has seen over the past couple of years, yet the demand is at an all time high.

"Consumers want beef, they love beef, and they are willing to pay for it," said Erin Beasley, Director of Consumer Marketing for the Alabama Cattleman's Association. "If the demand stays high, which it is both in the states and the export market, the more cattle we can produce, the more beef we can put on the shelves, the better it is going to be for everybody."

The good news, experts believe the prices will level out. However, it may take some time because it takes about two years to get a cow to market weight. As farmers are able to develop their herds back to normal level, the supply will be much higher.

In the meantime, experts do have some tips to make the cost a little less for you. They suggest you buy in bulk, either for ground beef or even for cutting your own steak, just speak with a local butcher for help.

Also, shop the sales. Retailers should have great sales especially with grilling season upon us.

Lastly, be creative. Experts say the T-bone steak actually has two steaks, a filet and a New York strip, which should be enough to feed a couple and will certainly be less cost to cook at home rather than going out for a steak dinner.

For more information and tips visit: Beef. It's What's For Dinner.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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