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Beef prices are skyrocketing but producers aren't seeing any of that money

A combination of inflation and supply and demand continues to send beef prices upwards.

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. — You may have noticed the price of beef on supermarket shelves is through the roof, a combination of inflation and supply and demand continues to send those prices upwards. 

However, for the farmer, those prices aren't being reflected in their wallets.

Sixth generation cattle farmer Kenny Mullis says livestock producers are struggling, saying, “The price the producer is getting on the farm is not very good.”

Mullis went on to say farmers are, "Out a lot of money for their inputs and they’re having to make decisions… cut corners where they can.”

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While Mullis's cattle graze in the pasture on his Blythewood farm, he says it’s costing him more and more to keep them.

“Producers are going to have get more money for their product or they can’t stay in business," said Mullis.

The soaring cost of feed, fertilizer and fuel is hurting farmers across the state, and those in the industry say the prices we're seeing on supermarket shelves isn't all going back to the producer. Mullis said, “It’s a big difference for what is being sold at the auction and what is being sold on the selves.”

Travis Mitchell from the South Carolina Cattlemen’s Association says input costs are at record highs. “We have seen very little to no increases in what the farmer is receiving when he takes his cattle to market,” Mitchell said. 

He says a result of the supply chain crisis, inflation and supply and demand is the reason prices are sky-high right now. "Transportation costs that are through the roof. Packaging costs are increasing by the day… costs of labor and the availability of labor," said Mitchell.

John Defelice from The Royal Butcher says those costs are being passed onto consumers, saying, “The price of beef is rising incredibly.”

Describing to News19 the price hike he's seen at the butcher shop, “Between this year and last year I would say it rose 16%. It’s incredible, it’s really, really high.”

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Mitchell says consumers are starting to buy more direct from the famer, to get around those costs. 

“Individuals reaching put to cattle producers, and those local producers recognizing there is a demand for that, they are taking those animals and having them harvested and sold right here local.”

Mullis says he solely sells direct to individuals or restaurants. He says he will take the cattle to the processor and his buyer picks their beef up from there. He says its one way to cut down on costs.

Butchers recommend opting for cheaper cuts of beef such as Teres majors (a cut of beef that comes the chuck section of the cow right below its front leg), flank steaks and sirloins to help save money.


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