Farmers not profiting from high beef prices - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers not profiting from high beef prices

May 26, 2004

Tifton -- Beef farmers say drought,a cattle shortage and increasing farm expenses are driving beef prices through the roof. Farmers say even with the price hike,they aren't seeing more money in their pockets.

During a time when consumers seem to be paying more for everything,  when beef prices rose 15 % you'd think beef farmers would be happy.

"We are making a living but we are not profiting a lot," says beef researcher Travis Ingram.

Beef farmers say although the price of beef is up in stores. The prices have increased for them as well from everything from feed to fences.

"Prices are up on cattle, which is good a thing. But prices are also up on fuel, flavor, metal, wood cost, feed cost and fertilizer cost," says Ingram.

Travis Ingram is a beef researcher for the University of Georgia. He says the rising cost of raising cattle has seriously cut into recent profit gains. 

High prices aren't unusual for the Spring but a recent shortage of cattle and no shortage of demand has keep prices soaring.

"A lot of it  can be contributed to the Atkins diet and the protein diets. People are eating beef,"says Ingram.

But research being done at this farm hopes to control future beef prices. 

Researchers are experimenting with more drought tolerant grass. Better feeds they hope will increase quality and create a ripple effect on lower overall cost raising steer.

"We are trying different feeds to get better feed conversation, we are researching more drought resistant grasses," says Ingram.

Researchers say they hope their findings will help make beef prices less volatile and keep consumers remember the answer the question What's for dinner?

Farmers say you can expect beef prices to drop during the Fall as more cattle are slaughtered.

posted at 5:43PM by scott.hunter@walb.com