During the pandemic, Texas beef prices are continuing to rise

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Journal photo by David Rolfe ---7/10/2014--- Fresh beef, the price of which has been rising, is seen in the counter at the Olde World Meat Market in Winston-Salem, NC, Thursday, July 10, 2014.

AUSTIN, Texas — Have you looked at beef rates recently? During the pandemic, prices increased and are up year over year from 2020.

“Beef has been in high demand at grocery stores,” said Dr. David Anderson, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension economist. In reality, beef retail demand in 2020 was the highest in 20 years.

Beef prices are usually higher in the spring, but demand and prices are trending higher this year, even ahead of the unofficial start of “grilling season” on Memorial Day weekend.

“However, since we are approaching Memorial Day, higher prices kick in from a demand standpoint,” Anderson said. “I think a lot of us are itching to get outside again,” she says. “We’re on the verge of making it.”

More than half of all Americans, including 45 percent of Texans, are at least partly vaccinated. More than 6.5 million Texans are completely vaccinated throughout the state. The demand for beef is continuing to grow, according to Anderson, as more people get vaccinated and venture out.

“We had an average all-fresh beef price of $6.39 a pound through prime, choice, pick, and all the various cuts from ground beef to sirloin to ribeyes, so everything you see at the store,” Anderson said. “We averaged around $6.39 per pound in March, compared to $5.96 last March.”

But, according to Anderson, there is no beef shortage.

“So when prices are really low, ranchers have to start cutting their herds from a profitability standpoint and we have been cutting our herds,” Anderson said. “So, I think when we get into late this year and next year we are going to see less beef production, and because of that, some higher beef prices.”

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