Texas Wildfires, Drought, Feed, and Fuel Costs Affecting Beef Prices

We all knew this would happen, didn’t we? Not only has Texas had a prolonged drought with devastating wildfires on top of that, but also we’ve had a spike in fuel and grain prices that are having a real effect on cattle ranchers everywhere, not just in Texas. We’re seeing that effect every time we go to the grocery store as the price of beef goes up and up.

Surprisingly enough, however, the price of beef at the retail level has surpassed the high price of pork, according to a CNN Money piece, “Beef Prices Soar” by Parija Kavilanz.

In February, the average retail price per pound for beef was $3.87, up 12.4% versus a year ago, according to market research firm FreshLook Data.

The average retail price for a pound of chicken was up 3.9% in February versus a year ago, turkey was up 5.4%, veal up 6.7% and pork up 10%.  

According to Texas A&M’s Department of Animal Science, Texas cattle herds typically number 14 million, making it the top-producing state in the nation. (Although I read somewhere recently that Kansas has more cattle than Texas. If anyone knows for sure, please advise.) I’m wondering if that 14 million number for Texas is down since the drought began. I can’t seem to find current numbers for the state, but I’ll keep looking.

No doubt, the prolonged drought is affecting feed costs for all livestock, but I have a feeling that our biggest problem is that we’re subsidizing farmers in Iowa and elsewhere with our tax money to produce corn to make ethanol to add to gasoline. In effect, we’re putting corn in our cars and trucks instead of into the animals we need for food! And no matter how you cut it, ethanol is NOT helping drive down the cost of a gallon of gas. Even if we processed all of the corn we grow in this country into ethanol, it would only amount to 3% of our fuel needs. What are we doing, and above all, why?

The fact that we’re putting “corn in our cars” is driving up food prices across the board and around the world. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention lately, but most of the unrest in the Arab countries has been over soaring food prices.

My apologies to all the nice corn farmers in Iowa and to the soybean farmers who are growing crops for biodiesel, but this is just another one of those things that “seemed like a good idea at the time.” Let’s produce more corn and soybeans for our livestock (and ourselves) and less to add to our gasoline. It’s time for this craziness to stop.

About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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2 Responses to Texas Wildfires, Drought, Feed, and Fuel Costs Affecting Beef Prices

  1. Hi,
    Interesting article, and I concur concerning the corn use. However GM corn is probably healthier for fuel, than for,….. even cattle food. Monsanto doused chemicals saturating our, unfit to eat, genetic modified food supply, while the runoff is polluting our streams and rivers and the weeds are growing immune to monsanto’s herbicide, is not my idea of longevity and health. Now monsanto is paying (a few) farmers to spray competitor herbicides on their roundup saturated crops because the roundup is no longer working in some areas. Lunacy.
    The GM products have potential to affect genetic change in the consuming organism. Also the European studies are showing dangerous to health, as have some of our own FDA studies that were subsequently buried. Not unlike, the EPA studied Corexit years earlier and found it more toxic to marine life and less affective than other available products. Have you read of Synthia, Craig Venter, Synthetic Genome , and new previously unknown bacteria in the gulf? Or, the new illnesses that is affecting some marine life and some people? Or, the Unknown bacteria that is “eating” the titanic. Yea, I know it sounds crazy,…. but only because most would rather not know what is going on. If you are not in the “most” category, check out “Florida Oil Spill.Com” for some iteresting articles, some of which quote some of the best experts in their respective fields.
    Why am I informing you of all this? …. I have no flippin idea, other than people should know what is going on, those that can bear it, that is.
    One correction, you said, the cattle prce up 12.4% and the pork price 10% but the pork price was up more??
    Also, a question. Farmers take their cattle to sale barns and the buyers dictate the price, not the Farmer sellers. I have never seen reserves set on cattle at the sale barn. The farmers take them, they go in the ring and they bring what they bring, (some ranchers may occasionally buy their cattle back because of horrendous price).
    So the processors are paying more. Much more for a few weeks before the Japan accident. We are getting radiation fallout here. Check out the accumulation of articles with quotes from authoritative figures on the “Alexander Hamilton Blog”, if you are interested. But, if you write for a news agency, you won’t work for them and tell the truth for long. One or the other will have to cease.
    Best to you in your journey,

    • M.J.Deare says:

      Wow! There’s so much information here that it will take me a while to “digest it.” No pun intended.
      I had no idea whatsoever that all of this was going on. I’ll definitely check out “Florida Oil Spill. Com.”
      And thank you so much for the correction. You’ve been the first one to point this out, and I went back immediately and fixed my error. Haste makes waste as they say. I need to let these blog entries “rest” overnight and read them again with a fresh eye in the morning before I publish.
      I don’t write for a news agency, just for my blog readers. So far, the feedback from them has been positive.
      Thank you for all of this information and for taking the time to write. I’ll check out that link today.

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