by William C Bailey
School of Agriculture Western Illinois University
An interesting confluence of events could affect your pocketbook the next time you go shopping. Because of strong international demand for dairy products, butter prices are near record levels with the retail price of butter nearly 50% higher than last year at this time. A similar situation holds for beef. Prices are near record levels, with rib eye prices nearly 10% higher than last year and hamburger prices almost 50% higher. And, as the beef industry attempts to re-build the national herd from its smallest size in 60 years, beef prices are expected to continue moving up. Further, a new twist has recently been added which turns a lot of our thinking about eating red meat and dairy products on its head, potentially increasing demand just as prices are near record levels.
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