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It's boon time for beef producers

Cattle ranchers are enjoying an economic boon, reported Reed Fujii of the Stockton Record. In March, beef cattle were being sold at an all-time high of $1.16 a pound, a jump of more than 40 percent in less than two years.

"Prices are good. They've never been this good before," the story quoted Galt rancher Duane Martin Jr.

Dan Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, told Fujii the primary driver of the price hike is short beef supply.

"One of the things that happened a few years ago: We had these incredibly high grain prices, and beef prices didn't go up, so that meant guys were selling," Sumner was quoted.

In addition, it takes time to beef up production.

"Cattle make cattle; the only way you make marketable animals is to have breeding stock," Sumner said.

To do so, however, will further reduce beef supplies in the short run.

A steak house owner told Fujii that so far he has not increased the prices of beef on the menu.

"I've absorbed everything for the last year or so on beef," he said.

High beef prices make for happy cowboys.
High beef prices make for happy cowboys.

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM
Tags: beef (7), Dan Sumner (30), economy (21)

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