I’m not the only one who has noticed the price increases on meat, am I? The chicken in my grocery store has increased by 25% this past year. My local meat guy has a graph showing the beef stock numbers in America declining drastically for the past two years. The law of supply and demand being what it is, prices are just going to keep going up. The AP reports
Meat prices are expected to rise faster than overall food costs in 2012. Prices rose in the spring and may increase an additional 1 percent to 3 percent this summer.
Traders drove up the price of corn futures because supplies were low and demand was robust from livestock producers, ethanol processors and overseas buyers. Corn futures jumped to an all-time high of $7.87 per bushel last June.
Feedlot owners who use corn to fatten up cattle before slaughter felt the pinch. Hog and chicken producers cut back on the number of animals they raised to offset higher corn costs.
In addition, a devastating drought in parts of the country dried up grasslands and ranges where cattle graze. Some ranchers sold off big numbers of animals instead of paying to truck in hay for feed.
In January, the U.S. Agriculture Department said that U.S. cattle herds were the smallest since 1952. Live cattle futures jumped to $1.3115 per pound in February, the highest level in decades. That meant higher costs for feedlot owners and meat packers. And those costs were passed on to consumers.
There, see, it’s all very simple. Commodity traders are of course reason #234 why feeding a commodity grain to our 4 legged food sources is a BAD IDEA. Droughts, which are likely to become more common as rising populations put water sources under increasing stress, are another reason to scale back our consumption of beef. It takes over 400-1000+ gallons of water to raise a pound of beef, depending on whether you’re talking to the cattle men or MSM. Vegetables take between 2 and 160 gallons of water to raise a pound, depending on the veg. Even measuring by calories per gallon of water, vegetables win.
So, of course, my first piece of advice to savvy preppers is to accustom yourself and your family to eating less meat in general, and less beef in particular. Using beef in soups and stews and casseroles to stretch it through more meals. Dropping a few beef meals each month in favor of a few vegetarian meals, perhaps something nice with beans so you don’t miss out on your protein intake.
Figure out how to preserve beef. Whether you decide on a freezer or a dehydrator or a smoker, find a way that you like, that works for your situation, and get yourself in a position to handle larger amounts of meat so you can take advantage of sales or price cuts.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat. Break out the marinades and slow/low cookers to take advantage of cuts that cost less. Top on the cheap list: Chuck steaks, ribs, flank steak, skirt steak, hanger steak, and my favorite, brisket. Mmmm, my momma used to cook the best brisket.
Freeze dried beef in a can? I know it’s out there. Provident Pantry makes some, I know I’ve seen some from Mountain House too. Has anyone eaten any of it? Sound off, let us know how it tastes, I’ve never had the pleasure.
Anyone taking measures to limit the impact of rising meat costs on the family budget?
– Calamity Jane