High Beef Prices Good For Farmers

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On Steve Ledoux's farm, he is readying about 35 beef cattle to sell. That's the size of an average beef farm in the north country.

"We're doing all right," he said. "I wish I had 150 more cows. That'd be great, but that's how it is."

Sizes of beef herds are at the lowest levels since 1952. That's because drought in the western U.S. means there's less grain to feed them.

"Beef is up by 12.6 percent from a year ago, in the grocery store," Ledoux said. "Beef prices paid to us are up a lot, too.

"Unfortunately, nobody has enough of a supply to take care of it and our export markets are huge, so there's a huge demand for beef and there's just not enough of a supply, so that's why the price has gone up."

The U.S. is the number one beef producer in the world, with the fourth largest cattle herd in the world. 

"It's great if you're a farmer, because you're seeing the most record prices we've ever had in the beef cattle business," Ledoux said. "Probably for the consumer, not so much, because you have to pay more for it. I think it's just the way it's going to be for the next couple of years, probably."

If you're interested in being a beef farmer and you're just starting out, you can call Cornell Cooperative Extension in Jefferson County. Classes start in September.

Monday, September 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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