Lower cattle inventory likely cause of higher beef prices

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 7:14 PM CST
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FULTON COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - When going to the grocery store, the price of beef might catch your attention.

Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics showed a slight increase in beef prices in 2022.

Farmers across Sharp and Fulton County said cattle inventories are low.

Content partner Talk Business and Politics said the lower amounts are a likely story across the United States.

Sharp County Farmer John Kunkel explained on top of the decreasing inventory, prices for farmers have also increased.

“As cattle prices rise, the price at the store will rise,” he said.

Cory Tyler with the University of Arkansas Extension Office in Fulton County said the lower cattle inventory is also something he has seen in his county.

“Put the drought and the high input costs together, farmers were really on the brink of not being able to provide to those cattle, so they had to sell a bunch, and our cattle numbers are actually down from last year,” he said.

Kunkel said farmers are dealing with issues from the drought cost-wise.

“Everyone has a budget of how much they can spend on fertilizer, on hay, and we’re going to have to meet that threshold. At the same time, many of your farmers have loans they’re going to have to be paying, so how did they make this stretch out to have a long-term strategy,” he said.

Kunkel explained farmers have received a small amount of help from federal and state governments due to the drought emergency, but it wasn’t enough to offset the cost.