GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) – There’s some good news for local cattle farmers. Cattle prices are at an all-time high, and analysts say demand for beef remains high. Still, restaurant owners and consumers may have to pay a bit more if prices continue to rise. Beef industry insiders say soaring cattle prices are good for business and consumers still have the final say.
“Cattle prices are definitely up. It’s perfect timing. The simple fact is that the prices of everything is up,” says Cattle Farmer Robert Gray.
Robert Gray’s family has been in the cattle farming business since 1857. He says the climbing cost of cattle has slightly increased profits and allowed him to buy more equipment.
“Diesel fuel, fertilizer. The cost of everything has gone up and if cattle hadn’t of come up too, then it would be really tough. I’m not sure we could stay in business,” says Gray.
The record high could mean relief for farmers. But, not everyone thinks high cattle prices are good for business. Todd Burkis owns Christy’s Hamburgers, with two locations in the Golden Triangle. He says when cattle prices rise, his profits decline.
“We paid a lot more for beef. We didn’t go up on our prices so it really affected our profits. But we went ahead and toughed it out and then prices dropped,” says Burkis.
State Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith says the cattle market will continue to fluctuate as it has in the past.
“Like any other market, it’s a global market. Right now the demand is not as great and the prices are high. But we’re always going to eat a hamburger. We live in America,” says Hyde-Smith.
The USDA projected that retail beef prices will rise as much as 6 1/2% percent this year. The record-breaking prices for beef cattle could ease if consumer demand for beef slows because of high prices.