Expansion in the country’s beef cattle herd is bringing cheaper meat prices to grocery stores in Nebraska and nationwide.
Lower prices for feed and other incentives over the past three years sparked the nation’s beef producers to bring more cattle to market.
Ag economist Lee Schulz says lower retail prices arrived a bit quicker than expected.
Schulz says, “What many of us thought would be a much longer, prolonged process to get to this new price level, really occurred in the last 3 months of 2015.”
The beef industry is worth more than $12-billion a year to Nebraska’s economy. It’s the state’s single largest industry.
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows ground beef is about 30 cents a pound cheaper now than it was a year ago.
Schulz says, “We’ve seen increases in beef production really started in late 2015 and into 2016, so the year over year standpoint, that increase in production will lead to lower prices.”
As the upcoming summer heats up, other meats popular on the grill, like steaks and ribs, should also have lower prices than last year.
There are 20,000 beef cow operations in Nebraska with nearly two-million head of beef cows statewide. The state has another 4,600 cattle feeding operations, with more than five-million cattle fed and marketed per year.