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Dwindling Herds, Overseas Demand Drive Up Beef Prices

Dwindling Herds, Overseas Demand Drive Up Beef Prices
Will consumers pay for beef as prices rise?

For anyone who loves a good steak, a juicy burger or a nice Sunday roast, these are anxious times.

Prices for beef, which have been climbing for months, hit a record high in December — an average of $5/lb. — and analysts predict they could climb 5-8% higher this year.

Beef prices are soaring for a number of reasons. Producers, who struggled with high feed costs and diminishing profits, began shrinking their herds roughly five years ago. Since then, demand from overseas markets has shot up — a record 11% of American beef went overseas last year, up from 8.7% in 2010.

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