The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reports that experts are telling consumers they should expect higher beef prices for the next two years due to the smallest cattle herd in 60 years. It’s unclear whether costs will drop in later years because growing demand could keep supplies tight even as ranchers breed more animals.
The experts are saying retail prices for beef could climb as much as 10 percent a year in 2012 and 2013. And the increase could be even greater if demand from other countries increases.
Ranchers have sold more of their cattle in recent years to meet increased costs. Last month USDA reported the U.S. herd had declined to 90.8 million cattle, 2 percent less than the previous year and the lowest inventory since 1952, when there were 88.1 million.