Sell-off now, higher beef prices tomorrow

All the pressures livestock ranchers are feeling this year are likely to have consequences that reach into the future.

One of the expected outcomes is higher beef prices next year.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its estimates for food prices for 2013, and beef led all other foods with an expected climb of up to 5 percent next year.

Rancher Greg Gipp expects the higher prices because so many people are “liquidating” right now.

“For the guys that are in the business, the demand is going to be there,” Gipp said. “I think the next few years — if you can weather it — there’s going to be some good prices.”

Cattle inventories are dwindling, according to national statistics. The latest USDA numbers released July 1 show all cattle and calves totaled 97.8 million head, down 2 percent from 2011. That’s the lowest number for July 1 since the agency began keeping records in 1973.


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