Valley Farmers Deal with Record Beef Prices

If you

Koontz Talks Beef Cattle

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- If you've been to the grocery store lately, you know the price of meat is rising. So where does that leave Shenandoah Valley farmers who are working hard to keep up with demand?

"We've never seen prices like this. Even out here on the farm, we're a little bit concerned," shared Rockingham County beef farmer, Lynn Koontz.

His cows are becoming more and more expensive because of an increased demand for beef in developing countries, a harsh winter for crops out west, and a shorter supply of cattle across the United States.

"This barn is empty. Normally, this time of year, I've got a couple hundred head here," continued Koontz.

It's that demand for beef around the world that's putting the beef in short supply. With each one of his cows selling for about $1,300 a piece, that's driving the price up at the supermarket.

"All segments of the cattle industry are making money at this time. We don't know how long that's going to last," added owner of Rockingham Livestock, Jim Chambers.

Chambers watches cows come through here on a weekly basis and says he's seen the price of cattle go up too. While business might be good for him and farmers like Koontz now, they're hoping it holds despite the strain it's putting on shoppers.

"I think we have gotten to the point that the American consumer has said, 'enough is enough,'" continued Koontz. That's why he is keeping a close eye on the markets just like the rest of us.

"I don't want to lose that customer," concluded Koontz.

Going forward, farmers say the meat market prices will depend a lot on the weather and its influence on crops this spring.


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