What is going on in the Beef Market? Those of us who are avid barbequers might be getting a little concerned with the rising prices of our greatest arsenal, the beef that we slap our spicy BBQ sauce on religiously! Why are prices sky-rocketing and what is America doing about it? The Supply of Cattle Herds Cattle herds have been devastated by the recent droughts in the south making prices for beef go up over a dollar. This has made the prices jump to historic highs. With cattle herds down lower than they were in 1950, America is struggling to maintain a large enough supply. Ranchers are paying twice as much for feed and that is if they can find it. Ranchers have to make a decision and that is either they choose to buy more expensive hay or start liquidating their herds. This is a hard decision but either way the ranchers have to do something. The United States Department of Agriculture is taking initiative by assisting farmers with over 16 million in financial aid. This is coming in as emergency forage, food and water to save livestock. Other non-governmental organizations are also stepping in by offering loans to help ranchers get back on their feet and take care of what they have left after the drought. These loans offer very low interest for these ranchers and anyone who has been affected by the drought. Not only has the drought affected the southern herds but there was also a drought last year that hurt the hay and feed production in the Midwest. This has combined to make the perfect storm. High prices on feed equate to high prices on cattle. The Solution What is the sustainable solution? Some ranchers have taken some initiative by planting native grasses with deeper root systems that not only withstand drought but also prevent erosion. This is in an ecologically sustainable effort to keep water. Another way is through water retention programs that allow ranchers to build up their reserves. Ultimately preparation is key to having a functional ranch during a drought. It will not bring water by any means but there have been success stories of ranchers who have been able to maintain their herds through adequate preparation. Other Options for Barbequers So what are some other options for Barbequers? Chicken and fish are still out there in abundance and there is nothing like BBQ sauce on chicken! Smoked fish is something that anyone who likes BBQ might like to try as well. And while the beef industry has been hurtin, the corn and potatoes have been flourishing. So your regular side dishes won’t be lacking in any way. Variety is key this summer if you are out there on the BBQ. Don’t be frustrated just be flexible and remember that these droughts come and go so there is always next year. While you are at it, remember that BBQing takes precision and if you aren’t using the right BBQ sauce then you aren’t taking things serious like you should. Don’t one of those guys that gets an expensive beef and plasters on some lame sauce because you chose to be cheap on the thing that matters most.
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