The Price of Beef Continues to Climb

Carcasses of beef hang at a meat processing plant. (Milanchikov Sergey, Shutterstock via The Center Square)

The price of food continues to go up and leading the way is the price of beef.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the price of ground beef is up 36 percent from last year.

Supply chain issues, inflation related in part to increased government spending, and the war in Ukraine are being blamed. Devin Bollman from the Illinois Beef Association said it is also a simple case of supply and demand.

“With it being summer grilling season and all the outdoor holidays, there is a general higher demand for beef and so obviously that is going to increase the prices right now,” Bollman said.

Bollman adds that fertilizer and grains on ranches and farms, plus gasoline costs are contributing to the escalating price of beef, but the profits are not trickling down to farmers.

“They are not gaining anything more from inflation, in fact they are having to pay more to keep the cows fed,” Bollman said.

According to the website Vox, meat companies may be raising prices with market power. Quarterly earnings show big profits at a time when meat companies are saying they are struggling, and hiding price hikes behind it.

President Joe Biden addressed the situation during a May briefing about inflation’s impact on the economy.

“We basically have four meat processors in the whole country,” Biden said. “When there’s no competition, they can set the price higher and higher.”

There doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight. The USDA is predicting a 7 percent decrease in beef production next year, and with tighter supplies, prices will likely continue to go up.

By Kevin Bessler


The Center Square was launched in May 2019 to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and statewide news across the United States. The focus of our work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting.

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