Consumers To Pay More For Beef, Milk - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Consumers To Pay More For Beef, Milk

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Dover, Del. - The next time you pick up a gallon of milk, you could be paying more.

A record high, according to some analysts. That's because of global demand pressures. Experts say that, along with dormant production in other countries has led to increased exports of U.S. dairy products in recent months.

Tiana Irwin of Dover says the price hikes hurt her.  

"It makes it a little harder for us with our minimum wage jobs. milk is definitely a necessity for our bones.

Beef is also on the rise.

A Bloomberg survey suggests the cattle herd in the U.S., the largest beef producer in the world, fell to a 63-year low. Extreme drought in the midwest has impacted feed supplies.
It's also caused many ranchers to reduce their herds.
     
Places like Witt Brothers Market in Wyoming, Delaware has felt the impacts.    

"Just prior to the holidays we saw a tremendous spike in pricing," said Witt.

Witt says he's worked at the retail, deli and butcher shop for 38 years and has never seen prices jump like they have recently.

Witt says now, he's noticed a slight decrease in those prices.

"Coming into the holiday season, you traditionally see a spike in certain cuts, like tenderloins, ribeyes, but we saw a little decrease lately which has been pleasant, but I certainly know it's not going to last," said Witt.

Beef prices are now at record levels. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the national average price for a pound of beef is $5.04. That's up six percent from last year and 11 percent since 2012.

Irwin says, like others, she's doing her best to keep up with inflation which includes tighter budgeting.

"I think that we already do that enough, but definitely even more so now," said Irwin.

Witt says if people slack off on things like red meat, other items could become a hot commodity.

"People may slack off on red meat somewhat and go more to poultry or pork where its cheaper, but then once that happens then you create a demand there," said Witt.

Agriculture experts say it could take about three years for the U.S. cattle herd to regain enough size to lower the price of beef.
But, others say this spring, consumers may see a bit of relief.

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