Summer is the time to fire up the grill and throw a few steaks on the grill and enjoy a quiet weekend here in the Texas panhandle.  That tradition is getting harder and harder with social distancing and the price of beef nearly doubling in the last few weeks.

I talked to the nice lady behind the counter at United and she said that the rising cost is primarily the middle man, and with a pandemic they are also dealing with difficulties.  Locally the meat processing plants that supplies beef to the grocery stores were especially hard hit by the coronavirus. That hardship caused these plants to operate at a reduced capacity and a few nationally have been forced to shut down.

TSM Danny

May 25, both the Department of Justice and the USDA were looking into whether the four biggest meat companies, Tyson Foods, JBS, National Beef, and Cargill, which together control 85 percent of the beef market, are fixing or manipulating prices.  “It’s evidence that something isn’t right in the industry,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was quoted as saying about the current pricing discrepancy. He’s one of 20 senators and 11 state attorneys general said to have called for government investigations according to a press release.

The USDA detailed how the beef industry can be described as a delicate ecosystem. Cattle need to be sold within two weeks of reaching their optimal weight and if they aren't, farmers may soon be forced to kill them or sell them for a lower price.

The rise in beef prices will also affect restaurants, especially the fast food business because the price for ground beef has risen by fifty cents in the last two weeks.

I paid nearly double for my steaks tonight, but I’m a Texan and need my steak fix.

TSM Danny