Eau Claire (WQOW) - Drought, demand and smaller herds: three reasons you're paying more for beef; a lot more. US beef prices are up a whopping 74% in five years, to the highest on record. We asked how this is impacting you, and what you can expect in the near future at the store. At twelve ounces, a sirloin filet costs about $6 dollars. It's an order Mike Maier has heard before.
"All your steaks are evidently high priced right now because it's grilling season and they seem to trend higher," said Maier, Mike’s Star Market Owner.
It's not just steaks. Nationwide, beef prices are at a record high. The average price for a pound of ground beef is now up to nearly four dollars per pound.
"Chicken has actually been increasing, but that's due to the demand because people have backed off a little bit on beef and have leaned more towards chicken," Maier added.
U.S. beef prices are up 74% since 2009, a fact not lost on shoppers with a family to feed.
"We have noticed, you know, big jumps in prices. That's kind of where we fluctuate. If we're going to eat say hamburgers, three times a month, maybe we'll only do it two times a month just to cut back on that cost," Debra Nemitz of Eau Claire.
DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel addressed the prices on a visit to Rooney Farms in Chippewa Falls Wednesday.
"I would be very surprised to see meat prices diminish in the grocery store anywhere in the near future. When you talk about the beef industry, it's been a really tough ten years for them, and they're finally in the position where they're earning some money. They don't want to go backwards again," Brancel explained.
Meanwhile the butcher's blade is still slicing and dicing.
"Actually our beef sales are about the same. We haven't seen anything up or down, anything major," Maier said.
The USDA has a list of prices nationwide for everything from ground chuck to sirloin steaks on its website.