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Beef Prices Expected To Rise As Drought Continues

Last updated on Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(UNDATED) - The drought in Indiana is now affecting how cattle are growing and some warn that meat prices are about to go up.

At the Traders Point Creamery in northwest Indianapolis, the grass-fed cattle aren't eating a lot of grass these days. Instead, hay is on the menu and the animals aren't the only ones not thrilled about it.

"They don't grow as much as they should," said Matt Proctor, the director of operations. "We're not going to have nearly the meat production that we were hoping to have."

Proctor, who has also worked in the steakhouse business, said consumers everywhere should brace themselves for high meat prices as soon as next month.

"This will most likely be the third year in a row that meat prices will go up," said Proctor. "It doesn't matter if they're grass fed or if they're grain fed or corn fed. It'll go up across the board."

Consumers, he said, should notice it the most at the grocery store when buying specialty cut meats.

"Any kind of tenderloin, rib eyes, filet, all those different cuts, prices are going to go up much higher," he said. "So instead of $15.99 a pound, which is common nowadays, that's gonna go up (to) $16.49."

He said restaurants, like the one at the Creamery, will try to take the hit and consumers shouldn't notice a large change, but that can only last so long.

Even if it started raining tomorrow, Proctor said, the drought has affected the cattle so much that there's no chance prices will drop until next spring.

"I thought last summer was the worst I'd seen in a long time, but this summer's worse," he said.

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