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Why Beef, Dairy Prices Will Keep Going Up

The prices for beef and dairy products are still increasing across the country, with beef recently hitting a new record.
Posted at 1:45 PM, Jun 18, 2014

You've probably noticed the prices of everyday items at your local grocery store have been steadily increasing over the last several months. And it turns out, those increases likely won't be stopping anytime soon. (Flickr / I-5 Design & Manufacturing | Brian Talbot)

"This morning, beef prices are hitting a new record. Milk and egg prices are also on the rise because of the drought." (Via ABC)

Let's start with beef. Say it isn't so ... just when grilling season is kicking into high gear, too. (Via Flickr / Mike)

A writer for Bloomberg says the price of ground beef has increased by 76 percent in the last five years. 

Sadly, this isn't too big of a surprise. The cattle population in the U.S. has been declining each year for the last seven years. 

There are 87.7 million cows in the country. This may seem like a whole lot of beef, but the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says the population hasn't been this low since 1951, when there were 82.1 million cows.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign says there are two reasons for the dwindling cow population. First is because of drought conditions over the last several years, and second is because the price of cattle feed increased, so farmers couldn't purchase as much. 

​As for dairy products? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average gallon of milk cost $3.69 in April 2014. It noted milk prices jumped 1.3 percent from last year. 

CNN calls out China as being partially to blame for the price hike. In April, the country purchased about 39 percent more U.S. milk than it did in 2013. 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture says several factors come into play when determining the pricing for milk products: costs for farmers and consumers, as well as the prices for other dairy products and supply and demand in markets across the country.

So let's do a rain dance. Maybe that'll cause these seemingly forever-increasing prices to finally start dropping.