The pump isn’t the only place where you’re going to be spending more money this summer: If your summer plans involve heaping piles of burgers sizzling away on the backyard barbecue (and they should), you’re going to have to shell out more of your hard-earned pay for those all-beef patties, too. And you can blame the weather.
Drought conditions in prime cattle-raising country in recent years have made beef both scarce and expensive, the AP reports. Last year, during the worst of the droughts, ranchers in Texas, which is this country’s largest livestock producer, were forced to cull their herds, because the sun-scorched earth didn’t provide any grass for cattle to graze on, and many simply couldn’t afford the increased price on hay. And now after record rainfall throughout the winter, many cattlemen in the T-Bone Lone Star State are a little reluctant to beef up their herds. Seems after taking a beating in recent years, and with so much uncertainty about rainfall, ranchers are feeling cautious about taking on any additional risks. Texas now has the lowest cattle count since the fifties.
Even worse, with sky-high cattle prices, cattleman with low cash reserves, and fickle weather forecasts, calves are now taking longer to go to slaughter, and experts predict that it may take as much as five years for the beef industry to recover.
Wonder if this will offset the fattening trend that reportedly will have half of all Americans tipping scales toward obesity over the course of the next twenty years?