In our Winter 2024 Newsletter, I shared an article entitled “BEEF… How High is Too High.” As cattle prices increase, the cost of beef in the local grocery store also increases. How high can the cost of beef go before beef is replaced by cheaper forms of protein like chicken?

A recent study of retail meat prices indicates there was a decrease in consumer demand for beef in November and December of 2023. As predicted in our Winter Newsletter, consumers are in the process of switching to cheaper forms of protein. If this trend continues, it could be devastating to the entire beef industry.

We all like high cattle prices – but the last thing we need is for cattle prices to go so high that beef becomes a luxury item no one can afford. If beef becomes a luxury item, we will only need to produce a fraction of the beef we are currently producing. At that time, most cow-calf producers will be forced to find other uses for their land.

As stated in our newsletter, the survival of family farms and ranches, as well as the entire beef industry, will require beef producers to produce great-tasting beef at an affordable cost to the consumer. The current beef-production paradigm is based on expensive fossil fuel-based inputs. That paradigm is failing! Beef production needs to get back to being primarily based on free solar energy!

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