Beef Prices Hit Record Highs, As Icy Winter Thins Herds

APTOPIX Hot Weather
AP

It's what's for dinner -- if you can afford it. Retail beef prices are heading through the roof, as cold weather threatens cattle herds nationwide. And this week, the price of choice-grade U.S. beef at wholesale set a new record high, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as already tight supplies were squeezed further by the tough weather. It's not just the literal thinning of the herds, with cattle packing on the pounds more slowly and thus slowing the process of their trip to the slaughter. It's also the fact that icy roads have made it tougher to get cattle to packing plants, Reuters reported. As for when prices will come down? Expect prices to stay near record highs for much of this year, economists say. "The real story is we're not going to have as much beef this year as we had last year," one told Reuters.

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