Cattle Prices Continue to Rise - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Cattle Prices Continue to Rise

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Prices are generally expected to rise in 2014, like they seem to do almost every year. But, sometimes the rise is a bit steeper. And beef is one of them.

As consumers, we know that when prices go up, it's not necessarily the store's decision. Marc Wolf has been a rancher his entire life.

But he says this year his cattle prices are a little different.

"The national cattle inventory is the lowest it's been in nearly six decades, along with the very strong foreign export demand, has given the cow/calf producers record setting prices," says Wolf.

Those low cattle numbers aren't just in North Dakota.

"A couple years ago there was a drought that covered a greater part of the United States. That caused a lot of cattlemen to sell many more cattle than they normally would, whether it be calves or cows or both," says Stockmen's Livestock Manager, Larry Schnell.

Schnell says prices at Stockmen's Livestock Exchange in Dickinson have been going up for over a decade.

"The price of a 500 pound calf, back in say 2000, we'd sell that for 80 or 90 cents a pound and we thought that was great. This spring, we should be seeing calves sell for almost $2," says Schnell.

And higher prices at the livestock exchange trickle down to higher prices for consumers.  

"My shoulder clods, they've been going up between 20 and 25 cents a pound and they've held pretty much steady from last week to this week," says Dean Evenson, butcher.

But both ranchers and butchers agree they don't expect the higher prices to keep customers away.

"We were busy before the oil boom, and it's just made it that much more busy," says Evenson.

"The bottom line is the consumer is willing to pay a premium for locally grown beef, and they've always expected the local product to be very high in quality and consistency," says Wolf.

Ranchers say labor and land prices are also high in North Dakota which can affect their budgets.

One thing Wolf did say was that feed prices actually went down this year thanks to the heavy rain in North Dakota this summer. So, that's good news for ranchers looking forward in 2014.

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